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Cross country runner Ryan Stasiowski ’11 (Hanover, Md.) discusses civil engineering, his favorite classes, and how to make somebody run faster.

What’s your major and what do you like about your major?
Civil engineering is my major. Solving problems that require an in-depth knowledge about the behavior of structures and doing it in a creative way is something I like doing a lot. The civil engineering field is also one of the most inclusive, and it allows for us to connect a lot of things together, from water to the environment to structures.

What has been the most unique academic experience you’ve had at Lafayette?
Designing, fabricating, and constructing the steel bridge in Professor Steve Kurtz‘s Structural Engineering class. It’s a competition to design and build one, and do it the fastest and cheapest. It’s either that or sitting in the middle of the cross country course pumping the wells for Professor Dru Germanoski‘s Hydrogeology class, and then bombarding the newcomers with ears of corn when they come to relieve you at 1 a.m.

One class that every Lafayette student should try to take is…:
Professor Dave Sunderlin‘s Dinosaurs, Darwin and Deep Time geology course. It is an introductory course, so nobody has to worry about having specialized knowledge beforehand. Dave is also very enthusiastic about what he does; I don’t know how anyone could not get excited about geology when they are in a room with Dave.

What are some ways that a senior can be a leader in an “individual” sport like cross country?
Cross country is all about the team; track is more individualized. My style of leadership is to lead by example. I just hope that I can put out a performance that will inspire someone else to run faster. I like to think I can inspire people to run faster by cheering them on. While it is hard to do that in the middle of the race when you may not be next to your teammate, it does help in particular workouts when someone is struggling. I will shout at my teammates whenever they seem to be dropping off from the back of the pack. Most of the time, they put on a surge and catch back up.

How do you incorporate skills from cross country into other aspects of your life?
The drive to succeed is one of the most powerful things that can be used. If you can survive pain severe enough where you think you might die, you can survive anything. Nothing is as painful as running all out up a steep incline when already you are four miles into a race and in severe oxygen debt.

Discuss the differences between preparing for a cross country meet as opposed to a track meet.
Unless you’re running a 10K on the track, cross country races are a lot longer than track races. Toward that end, we don’t spend that much time on speed work in cross country; you don’t need too much speed. I always prefer to run on whatever course (in most cases Metzgar) on which we’ll be running. A track is a track; it doesn’t matter where it is. Plus, there are never any hills on the track, so when training for cross country, if I have a choice between a hilly section and a flat section, I’ll take the hill.

Sport you would play other than your own:
Racquetball or mountain biking

The most played song/band on your iPod:
Embassy’s “Gravity”

Movie you could watch every day:

Word Association
Lafayette: Leopards
Cross Country: Running stupid fast on stupid hard terrain.
Coach Piazza: “Smooth, smooth, smooth, and go.”
3,000 meters: We steeplin’!
College Hill: Why do I always have to finish running up a hill?!

Categorized in: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Engineering, News and Features, Students, The Real Deal: Real Students. Real Athletes.
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