Virginia track and field senior Kevin Anding (Houston, Texas) recently spoke with VirginiaSports.com to talk about being named team captain, how he ended up at UVa and how he got started in track.
You were recently named team captain, what does that mean to you?
Anding: I think it’s a huge honor. When I came here, I never thought of being team captain. It was something I always aspired to but never knew if I would necessarily get it. Just the fact that I’m respected enough by my teammates as well as the coaches to be selected captain is just a huge honor.
At the ACC Indoor Championships, you earned bronze in the 400 meters for the second straight year. What is it about the 400 that you find success?
Anding: I enjoy running it and I think that’s a part of it; having a love for the event and just going out there every time and trying to do my best. I try to have the team in mind, get some points for the team and help us out in the overall standings. That’s my main goal.
What’s the biggest difference between running the 400 indoor and outdoors?
Anding: I think you can run more of your own race (outdoors), because you don’t have to worry about being the first guy to the break and trying to hold onto it. The first 200, that’s not my strength. I think the second part of the race is where I do better. So I think outdoors is a little less strategic and I can run a little bit more of my own race. I like outdoors better. Partially because of the weather, but the fact that you have to do less laps, I think it’s just something mental, but I like that.
What can fans look forward to as we open the new track facility this weekend at the UVa Team Swashbuckle (March 24)?
Anding: Hopefully some good races and some fast times. I think it’s a great track to run on and it’ll be fun to actually get a competition on it and hopefully it’ll get some fast times. I don’t know exactly what (events) people are running, if they’re planning on running their main event or dropping down and doing some shorter distances, maybe some longer distances, I don’t know what everybody has planned. I’d hope that, maybe not with this one being the opener, but as we progress farther down the season we definitely get some fast times on it. Practicing on it, I love it. Something about having a really nice facility, I think it just gets people excited to go out and train everyday. It’s a fun atmosphere.
How did you get into running when you were younger?
Anding: Originally, I was a soccer player and my coaches saw that I had some speed so I decided to try it out and try to stay in shape. Really the main reason I started was for soccer, but as I progressed I saw myself doing this in college so I focused on that a little bit more my senior year, and I ended up here.
Were you always a 400 meters runner?
Anding: I’ve been all over the place. I started in middle school not really seriously. I started out doing the 100 and 200, I ran one 400 race in middle school, one 800, and then the first three years of high school they tried to make me into an 800 runner and it just wasn’t working out. Eventually, towards the end of my junior year, beginning of senior year, I started running the 400 more seriously and it just clicked and I started running a lot faster times comparatively to the shorter events and the 800.
Why did you stick with track over soccer?
Anding: I started to like it more. As I started running faster times, I developed a love for it. Originally, if you told me I’d be running track in college I would have said you’re crazy just because our sport is what people do for punishment in other sports, honestly. I know people say it a lot, but it’s true. We run a lot and it’s what people do as punishment in other sports. I just started to like it more, maybe it was because I started running faster, I’m not quite sure.
How did you end up at UVa?
Anding: Out of high school I didn’t run any great times and the big year for recruiting is your junior year and I didn’t really run the 400 or run it well, so I wasn’t recruited very much. As I started running faster my senior year, I started talking to coaches and (former UVa coach) Brad Hunt was very instrumental in helping me one get into the school. I was originally waitlisted and then he helped me secure a spot on the team. I loved the school, loved the campus, loved the area, so it was a no-brainer.
What is the biggest difference between your hometown of Houston, Texas and Charlottesville?
Anding: Probably just the traffic that comes with the big city. I learned somewhat how to avoid it in Houston because if you don’t go out in rush hour, you don’t have to deal with it as much, but there is always a good amount of traffic regardless so I think that is the biggest difference.
What is your favorite part of UVa?
Anding: Probably The Lawn. A couple of my good friends, (track and field teammate) Matt Meyer and Matt Snyder on the wrestling team, they both live there this year, so I’ve been hanging out there a lot more than I had in the past couple years. It’s an awesome place to hang out when you have nothing to do.
What do you do in your spare time? Do you play soccer anymore?
Anding: I haven’t really played soccer at all since I got here. I don’t think coach would be too happy if I did. A lot of it is just relaxing, hanging out with my teammates and friends. I work hard during the week and then I take it easy. Now that I’ve got a dog (a golden retriever named Colt) I take him around on hikes to tire him out some. He’s an awesome dog.
What is your favorite class you have taken?
Anding: Probably sports psychology. I thought it was really interesting, being involved in sports my whole life and looking at it from a different aspect than I have ever looked at it before.
What are your plans after you earn your undergraduate degree?
Anding: I’m working on that right now. I think eventually I’d like to stay involved in sports, probably sports business, maybe get into athlete representation. I’ve been trying to get into contact with different agencies and different companies that do that sort of work and try to get either an internship or an entry level job and try to go from there.
What are your goals for your final outdoor season?
Anding: Continue to have fun, I think that’s a big part of it, but really to help out the team in any way I can and give it my all. It’d be nice to finish off with an ACC Championship on the home track. It’d be awesome if we could do that. Anyway I can contribute and help us score points, that’s my main goal.