When it comes to the sport of distance running, senior Jamie Vavra seems to have done it all.
An All-American last season and the team’s top runner throughout the 2011 campaign, Vavra has, in the past few months alone, won the Brockport Invitational, been named both UAA and NYSCTC Athlete of the Week and, most recently, placed sixth overall in the highly-competitive NCAA Atlantic Regional Championships, leading his team to a fifth-place team finish and a second straight at-large bid to the NCAA National Championships. Vavra and his teammates have high hopes as they prepare to tackle the nation’s top teams on Saturday, Nov. 19.
Who inspired you to start running?
I started running in middle school when my gym teacher told me that I could be a very successful runner.
You stepped up into the role of the team’s consistent No. 1 midway through last season. What did you change to accomplish this?
I think the improvement came from the consistency in my training. By not overdoing the training, I found myself running very well.
Do you approach the big-deal meets (like the Regional Championships or Nationals) any
differently than you would a smaller, early-season invitational?
Yes. Training is reduced so I can be well-rested going into these races. Plus, I’m more mentally focused on executing my race plan.
What was it like being named an All-American at the end of last season?
It was an incredible experience. It’s always nice to achieve a lifetime goal, but the fact that I got to share that experience with my teammates was even better.
How do you deal with the added pressure your teammates and coach place on you to lead the team both in workouts and races?
The most important thing I do is trust myself. I just remember that this isn’t my first rodeo and that I have the experience to lead the team in an effective manner.
What are you hoping for next week at the NCAA National Championships?
I am aiming to place in the top 15 at nationals and help our team to a top four finish.
Who is your favorite collegiate runner?
I’d have to say Danielle Bessette. She’s a very determined runner who always runs with a strong sense of courage.
Plus, she’s so dreamy.
Bernstein is a member of the class of 2014.