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Catching up with Kevin McMorrow heading into NCAA Regional Championship Saturday

Photo by Lianne Yun '18
Photo by Lianne Yun '18

By Trevor Wenners
Athletic Communications Assistant

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Kevin McMorrow's confidence level is high at the most important part of the season. 

The sophomore runner on the Wesleyan University men's cross country team was the second Cardinal to cross the finish line during the NESCAC Championship on Oct. 28 in New Gloucester, Maine, as he trimmed 1:24.11 off his 2016 performance and finished 29 slots higher at No. 49 in the individual standings.

Kevin McMorrow placed in the Cardinals' top-five four times during his rookie year.

McMorrow, who hails from Wingdale, N.Y., also excelled during the competitive Paul Short Run on Sept. 29 in Bethlehem, Pa., placing 80th overall out of 214 competitors on the 8-kilometer course. During the event, he was the second-place scorer for Wesleyan. He also cracked Wesleyan's top-five four times during his rookie season in 2016.

McMorrow and his teammates are now looking forward to making a name for themselves at the 2017 NCAA Regional Championship on Saturday in Gorham, Maine. Last year, the group compiled a 12th-place performance at the regional event with McMorrow finishing 81st overall and third on the team.

This fall, the Cardinals will turn to a lineup consisting of seniors Tate Knight and Connor Cobb, and sophomores William Bajohr, Grant van Inwegen, Conner Sexton, Adam Linsky and McMorrow.

McMorrow recently spoke about his thoughts going into the high-end meet, while also talking about the oneness of the cross country program.

Q: How exciting it is to go up against some of the toughest competition in New England?

A: The region is definitely deep. We have seen this level of competition before at meets like the Paul Short Run and our own alumni race, but there is more of a nervous edge to races like this one and our conference championships.

Q: How do you stay relaxed and focused heading into this meet?

A: Lack of focus is not usually an issue heading into the New England Championship. We meet as a team several times a month to check-in with one another and make sure we are all on the same page. Staying relaxed at this point in the season is a little more difficult. I am still working on developing my pre-race routine, but you can bet it will involve the steam room.

Q: What were the keys to your improvement between freshman and sophomore year?

A: Most of my improvement came simply from adjusting to the training. The increase in mileage, intensity, and race distance from high school was an adjustment that I was able to make quickly. I like to think that freshman year was just a way of slowly letting the training wheels off.

Q: How did the cross country program impact your transition to college?

A: The team is a great community. Transitioning to college was made so much easier knowing I had a group of friends going through something similar. I think our true colors as individuals come out at team dinners.

Q: Could you talk about what you have learned from head coach John Crooke?

A: Coach Crooke has, more than anything, just taught me to trust in the process. Whenever someone changes coaches and programs, there is a certain level of trust and letting go that is necessary to do well.

Q: You are coming off a strong performance at the conference championship, how much confidence and momentum does that give you heading into this weekend?

A: That was my first 8-kilometer race in a while, so I feel like I am approaching this weekend's race with a much clearer idea of what I need to do, and how it will feel doing it. A few weeks ago, late-season goals felt a little foggy for me. Our conference championship was my LASIK eye surgery.

Q: Could you talk about what you are studying at Wesleyan, what your career plans are and how you have enjoyed the institution as a whole?

A: I am looking to major in art history and minor in data analysis. Those are two pretty different fields, so it would be really neat to find a career that lets me incorporate both of those interests. I am incredibly grateful to be at a school where I feel comfortable exploring my interests and dabbling a little. Educationally, socially and athletically there seems to be a real emphasis on personal well-being and mental health. I never feel the need to overextend myself at the sake of satisfying an educational, social or athletic need.