Sophomore Emil Heineking won the 1500m at the UVa Spring Swashbuckle to open the outdoor track and field season last weekend in an NCAA Regional qualifying time. Coming off an indoor season that saw the men’s team post its best-ever finish at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, Heineking earned all-conference honors in the 5k with a third-place finish. He also became the Cavaliers’ first two-time All-American in cross country earlier this year.
Heineking and the Cavaliers will split up for competition this weekend, with some competitors heading to Palo Alto, Calif., to compete in the Stanford Invitational, while others will head to Raleigh, N.C., to compete in the Raleigh Relays.
Question: How are you going to be able to use indoor to prepare for outdoor? And what are some of your goals for the outdoor season?
Heineking: I had a good base of training indoors and I think that will pay off outdoors, as I plan to race well into June. I’d really like to win an ACC individual title outdoors and help the team to its highest-ever finish again. I’d also like to be All-American on the track.
Question: You’ve already regionally qualified in the 1500m outdoors. What does that mean for you and is that the event you’re looking to excel at?
Heineking: It means a lot to me to regionally qualify in the 1500m. I really believe in the adage that speed kills all those who don’t have it. So to come out and run 3:46 this early is a fantastic sign of my speed improving. With all that said, I’m looking to run my best in the 5k event. I’m planning on running the 5k at the regional and national meets.
Question: Do you prefer longer or shorter races?
Heineking: I don’t really prefer one over the other, but I tend to be more successful at the longer stuff, like the 5k and 10k.
Question: Looking back to cross country, what does it mean to be Virginia’s first two-time All-American and how has that helped motivate you on the track?
Heineking: I’m very motivated about running and being an All-American is just a product of it.
Question: You’ve competed for the United States, at the IAAF Junior World Cross Country Championships, too. How has competing on the national stage helped prepare you for collegiate races?
Heineking: I really don’t know. I don’t think it has helped me prepare for collegiate races. If anything, Juniors made me realize that I’m really not that good and I have a long way to go if I want to be competitive internationally.
Question: What is an interesting fact about you that most people don’t know?
Heineking: My parents have had alpacas since I was 12 or something, but I don’t have much involvement with them other than occasionally feeding them. I also have a twin sister named Malin and half of my family is from Sweden.