In the Locker Room: Alex Petek
Hometown: San Rafael, California
Sport: Track and Field
I caught up with superstar student-athlete, economics scholar, Californian, member of the track and field squad and world-traveler, junior Alex Petek. Due to the exclusive nature of Ms. Petek, I had to complete this interview from the Chicago O’Hare airport, where the phenom student-athlete was flying out for a private workout and yours truly was boarding a plane for a corporate job interview.
Matt Kaplan: You are a track superstar. What brings you to Chicago?
Alex Petek: I am going to see my Dad and work out at the same time. He is also a coach.
MK: Give me an idea of how fast you are?
AP: Pretty damn fast.
MK: Like Forrest Gump fast?
AP: Forrest Gump is my idol. Plus, my magic shoes make me even faster.
MK: Magic shoes? Any problem getting those magic shoes through security?
AP: No. They are magic. They go undetected. Stealthy.
MK: Not fair. Can’t say the same about my toothpaste and hair gel that apparently are threats to homeland security. So you’re a track star. Are you a sprinter, shot-putter, or are you tossing the javelin?
AP: I run the 800. That is two laps around the outside track.
MK: Got me tired just thinking about running around a track. What brings a Californian across the country where you have to run track in the bitter cold?
AP: I wanted to get an amazing education. Plus, Coach Jason Hudson recruited me and during the process I learned how energetic, caring and awesome he was.
MK: Was that the sales pitch?
AP: To come run for a team that is getting better.
MK: Here we are in Chicago, the land of Michael Jordan, Chicago-style pizza, the Windy City, and you are rocking the Oberlin propaganda here?
AP: Got to keep the Yeozone proud…The subconscious telling me to wear my Oberlin sweats.
MK: What characteristics do you need to do well in track?
AP: Strong sense of discipline…self-reflection…physical toughness.
MK: So you run around this track — no iPod, cold weather, skimpy uniforms —how much mental toughness is required?
AP: The best advice I ever got: “Don’t think! Run!”