Sept. 26, 2013
Redshirt sophomore August Pappas discusses the upcoming Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla., individual and team goals, and his love for performance music.
On debuting at the Cowboy Jamboree ... "For most of us, we're all at a pretty high mileage point in our season, so we're all kind of at the peak of our physical exhaustion and fatigue. We're doing long workouts and putting in a lot of miles, but we haven't gotten to race at all, so to finally be able to get on a course and really compete, that's the reason we're here so it's really exciting. We do so much running that's not competitive, so to finally be able to put it all on the line is exciting and that's what it's all about. Everyone on the team is really jacked up and ready to go."
On starting fresh after finishing last cross country season injured ... "I do feel like this season is a fresh start for me. It's the first season I've had where I'm not coming out of an injury from the end of the summer. I've had a cohesive training cycle since the beginning of the summer without any significant interruption from injuries and it's the first time that's happen to me since I came to Michigan. I feel, by far, better than I ever have at this point of the year. It's a new feeling, not coming off an injury and feeling like I can actually run well. I feel great."
On individual and team improvements from last season ... "Both myself and the team, we've gotten a lot better with when we workout, we're not racing each other as much, it's more of a team atmosphere. Everyone is focused, not on competing in workouts, but getting better as a whole and saving the competition for the actual race. I see that within myself and within our team. In general, I feel like we've come together more as a group than we have in the past."
On four freshmen getting their collegiate debut at the Cowboy Jamboree ... "For the freshmen who are going to be racing, it's pretty much been seamless. I've been really impressed with their maturity level and how they've handled higher mileage and harder workouts. They've done it calmly and none of us upperclassmen feel like they're trying to race us -- they're working together with us as a team. I think we expect the same things from them this weekend as we expect from anyone else, which is that they're going to run themselves to death at the race and really give everything for the team. I think they've done everything they can to prepare themselves for that and I've been really impressed with the maturity level of our freshmen."
On majoring in performance music/percussion ... "My mom made me take piano lessons when I was seven. I didn't love piano, but whenever saw someone play drums, I thought that was the coolest thing in the world. So I started taking drum lessons and I started getting pretty serious about it. I basically figured out in about eighth grade that, other than running, it was the thing I enjoyed doing the most. I've known for a long time that I wanted to spend my life doing that and I've never second guessed myself -- it's always felt like what I was built to do. The curriculum here at U-M is pretty intense. Michigan has a conservatory style school, which means I pretty much only take music classes, private lessons and I play in a bunch of different ensembles. The program is pretty rigorous -- we have two professors who are world renowned performers and they both demand a lot out of their students.
"My main professor, his name is Joe Gramley, is awesome because he is totally supportive of my running. He's always asking me about my competitions and what's going on with the team, or whether or not I feel like they're doing enough to make sure I have the time I need to practice. He is extremely helpful in helping me workout time conflicts. He's a great communicator and makes sure that I'm talking to him way ahead of time on what's coming up and what we need to work out. There are a lot of conflicts -- I have to miss a lot of concerts and I have to miss a lot of running for music as well, so it goes both ways. The main thing for me is that Professor Gramley is really flexible and really enthusiastic about that fact that I compete for Michigan."