Sept. 7, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - IUHoosiers.com will take a look at this year's newcomers on the Indiana men's cross country team. Next up is sophomore transfer Jacob Laird.
Laird competed at Purdue during his freshman cross country season before transferring to IU and redshirting the 2008 indoor and outdoor seasons. Laird clocked personal-best times of 25:52.65 in the 8K at the 2007 Big Ten Championships and 33:50.29 in the 10K at the NCAA Great Lakes Region Championships in Bloomington. At Rushville High School, he was a four-time letterwinner in cross country and track, and a three-time letterwinner in basketball. The Arlington, Ind., native was a four-time sectional champion in cross country and a semi-state qualifier in cross country as both a freshman and a sophomore. He placed 21st at the semi-state meet as a junior and was a state qualifier as a senior.
Setting the Pace with Jacob Laird
1. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If I could go anywhere in the world it would probably be Africa. I think seeing all the exotic animals and fish would be really cool.
2. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself married and living in Indiana somewhere. I hope to have a job that I really enjoy. I also hope running is still a part of my life because I would eventually like to be a coach of a cross country or track team.
3. Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
My parents have had a huge influence on my life. They have done a great job making sure I have everything I need and have always been supportive of me in whatever endeavor I chose.
4. What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memories are just playing sports and having fun with my brothers and sister. My family also stays on Lake Michigan for a while every summer and it is always a really fun time.
5. Something that many people don't know about you is:
I think most people don't know is that I also played basketball all four years of high school. Running and basketball are not only extremely different sports, the environment and people that are involved in these activities are very different. This really helped me to develop skills in regards to working on a team with a diverse group of people. Most people are usually very surprised to learn that I was both a basketball player and runner while in high school.
6. The teammate I most admire is who, and why?
I admire all of my teammates very much. However, I have really grown to admire Brennon Plotner. He has been through a lot of changes in this program in the past couple years and has maintained a very positive attitude and outlook on everything that has been going on with our program. Being a senior, he also made sure to teach all of us younger guys the important little things we can do as runners to make sure that we reach our full potential both as individuals and as a team. He has been a great friend a teammate.
7. Name one thing that you wish you were better at?
I wish I was a little better at relaxing and not worrying so much about things that really don't matter. I think I could be better at just going with the flow more.
8. What makes Indiana special from any other program?
Indiana is a special program not only because we have a extremely talented team. What separates us from other programs is the fact that we work hard and pay attention to details to ensure that all of our talent is used to the highest abilities. When you combine our great talent with great work ethic, dedication, and a great atmosphere you get a very special program that is going to accomplish great things in the near future.
9. What do you like best about Coach Helmer?
I really like Coach Helmer for many reasons. He is the most focused coach I have ever run for. He really cares about making us the best runners we can be. He does an excellent job of individualizing workouts and mileage for people when that is needed. We all are extremely confident that if we listen to and do what he asks of us, we will do great things. He also really cares about making sure we are great people as well. Whether it be running or academics, he expects us to do the best we can in everything we do.
10. What are your goals for this year?
I have set very high goals for myself this year. I have had the best summer of training I have ever had and hope to continue to build on that fitness as we start to really get going on our season. I want to be a regular in our top seven this year and help the team reach the high goals that we have set. Timewise, I would really like to be at or under 24:30 for 8k. As a team, we all want to knock off Wisconsin for the Big Ten Conference title and eventually move on to nationals and place well there.