Student-Athlete of the Week

Sept. 17, 2012

Athlete of the Week

Michael Banks

The Always a Cowboy Run is coming up. What significance is this event for the program and honoring past Wyoming runners, particularly the eight killed in the car accident in 2001?

I think it's a good way to remember the past runners who were killed in the tragic accident. It reminds us not to take life for granted, not just your own, but all of your teammates and friends as well. It's a harsh reminder that getting behind the wheel after drinking is not okay; you're not just putting yourself in danger, but everyone else who is on the road.

When you arrived from New Zealand two years ago, did you have a difficult time adjusting to 7,200 feet?

It was tough, for sure. The first couple of months I struggled; it felt like trying to run for the first time again. I was out of breath within the first few minutes of every run.

What do you miss most from home?

I would have to say my friends and family the most; however, sometimes the food and the beaches get pretty close to being number one.

As one of the team leaders, what are you doing to help the younger runners?

The main thing is to keep a positive attitude throughout the team, keep a happy vibe as well as training hard. Getting together with the younger guys outside of practice goes a long way as well, especially going to other sporting events with them.

What are some of your individual goals for this cross country season?

To come top 10 in conference, qualify for nationals, and, of course, to have fun with the guys.

As a transfer student from the University of Auckland, what are some of the differences you see between Wyoming and Auckland?

The weather is the main thing, I still remember my first time running outside and it started to snow. I almost froze during that run and all I was wearing was shorts and a thin, long-sleeve shirt. The population size was a shock also, coming from a city of 1.3 million people to a state with only 500,000. I like Laramie, though. It's a good little college town with a lot of friendly people.

Do you have an area of marketing you hope to focus on following graduation?

I think sports marketing is the most attractive and holds the most interest for me. No sport in particular.

What is your pre-meet routine to mentally prepare for a race?

Normally I listen to music, make jokes with the guys, and try to loosen up as well as preparing for the job at hand. Other than that it's just the same rituals I do before every race; warm up, stretch, stride outs, etc. Doing the same thing mentally prepares me and gets me into the zone.

What has been your favorite memory with the team? Any road trips that stick out?

I think my favorite memory was when I was coming back from a cross country meet in Nebraska, my first meet running for UW. We stopped at a gas station and I decided to sample American candy. I may have spent $15 that day with my teammates egging me on .... it was worth it.

Who is your role model?

John Walker, a New Zealand middle distance runner who was the first person in the world to break 3.50 in the mile. I look up to him not only because he was fast, but also because he has the same attitude as me: Eat what I want when I want ... if the furnace is hot enough, I can burn anything.

How is Coach Berryhill helping the running program at UW?

I think Coach Berryhill is providing a very positive and competitive attitude toward running at UW. He believes in us and is committed to making us believe in ourselves. I think his training is very smart and will do wonders for the team when we approach the big races, conference and regionals.