April 12, 2006
Senior track star Andrew Lemoncello (St. Andrews, Scotland/Stirling) has made the most of his short time here in Tallahassee. In a span of two cross country (fall) seasons and one and a half track seasons, the six-time Atlantic Coast Conference Champion holds four school records, is the top ten of two additional events and has helped Florida State to three league championships and three top ten national team finishes. Recently, the ACC Co-Performer of the Week sat down with the Seminole Dispatch to answer a few questions.
You’re setting records just about every time you step on the track. How does that feel and was that a part of your training?
It feels good to see my name in the record books. It was one of the goals I set when I came here. After my first year, I thought I could get all the distance records. I’m aiming for a fast 5000m race next time out. It lets me and everyone else know that progress is going the right way, that I can go between events and do well in them all. It just makes me feel good because I’ve come here for the right reasons. I’m improving over every distance.
With all the accolades and achievements, does that make strengthen your bond with FSU?
Absolutely, it’s made me coming here and doing as well as I have, I’ve turned into a completely different athlete and it just makes me want to stay here for as long as I can. I’d love to get a GA position so I can help give something back and maybe do some coaching as well. Even later on because the school has given me so much. I just want to give as much back as I can. It’s one of the things I do when I’m back home, people ask me about how I train and well it’s because of FSU. They have provided me with everything that I’ve needed to be successful.
Many student-athletes are awarded partial or full scholarships through athletes and the Seminole Booster organization. How does that scholarship help you educationally and athletically?
It makes life so much easier for me. I went to school for three years back in Scotland and I was getting student loans and I was on my own training every single day and then coming out here because I’m on scholarship I don’t have to worry about the financial situation. I don’t have to worry about paying back loans or working every morning before and after training and trying to fit in school work. Where as here, the scholarship allows me to relax and put all my efforts into my running and school. It just makes life so much easier.
Speaking of school, what are you studying at FSU?
I’m studying sport management. I would like to do coach and stay in athletics because I’ve studied the sport so much that’s all I really know. I would love to work with a sports company and do product testing and stuff like that because I’m so into running. I run 100 miles a week so I know how shoes should feel on your feet. So something like shoe testing and developing.
On and off the track who are some of the people in your life you look to for support?
Well, Coach Braman obviously as my coach. Every one should be able to turn to him. People like Eddie Rodriguez, who I lived with last year and was team captain last year. He’s very helpful. You can always fire off questions and he’ll give you feedback. Some other teammates as well. You need different input. Off the track, my girlfriend Ceara, who a lot of times because it’s hard sometimes to fit in everything with athletics and also my parents who are very supportive and help me through things.
It’s impossible to be successful at this level without motivation. What do you use to keep you aiming for the top?
Being the best is my motivation. Coming out here I want to do everything I can to be the best I can be and it’s been going that way so far. I was fourth at nationals last year but that’s done more good than anything because it took that much hard work to get to fourth last year but now I know what to do to get to first and so I’ve been working really hard since coming back to training. My motivation is to always try and be the best and I want to go out there and get my rankings up. I’m third fastest ever in Scotland and I’d love to get close to the Scottish record of 8:13, which is world-class, and what I want to be doing. It’s kind of nice as well turning up at races at home and people are saying, “You are doing really well.” I think anyone can do it you just have to have the motivation.
Does it help you reach high levels of success having teammates who are elite national level competitors?
That is something I didn’t realize when I was coming out here. Everyone was seeing that Walt came through and won the championships but there was a bunch of us that took fourth places and people right across the board that were right up there. But everyone kind of looked at it like, we came in fourth last year at nationals after having a bad meet so what can we do next year. This year, it’s absolutely going the right way. Everyone’s working really hard trying to do the best we can. It just helps so much to win our first national championship.
Do you feel like you are a part of Florida State history?
Yes, I didn’t realize we never had an ACC Champion in cross country. It just feels good to know that I’m doing the right thing and putting the school out there. Coach gets excited each time we win a championship whether it’s ACC or even if he knows we’re going to win or not, it’s still a big thing. It feels great to know that my name is down there and people know me because of that.
What are your goals?
One of them was to get the 10K record and I did but I wanted to run faster but conditions didn’t come out right. To win nationals absolutely, that’s the main goal for this year. I didn’t realize I would be so close last year. This year my training has been set up so well. My first race has gone just the way I wanted it to so everything is coming down to nationals. Then I’ll have a few races in Europe after the American season. I just want to get my time down by trying to take a second a lap off my personal best.
Some of your teammates have billboards, others are identified from television or articles in the newspaper. Are you recognized when you walk around campus?
Occasionally, yes. It’s more when I’m out. I went out to dinner with a bunch of friends and they brought some friends as well and my girlfriend said something about track not getting recognition but then three of the girls who were sitting across from us were like, “You were that guy in the newspaper today,” and so I said “Yea I was,”. I mean, people in class know but it’s just something that comes with it.
Is that something you are comfortable with?
It’s not something I think about a lot. If someone compliments my running, it is ok but if they don’t know that’s fine as well. It doesn’t really bother me too much.
What has been your proudest moment here at FSU?
Probably winning my first ACC title. Going into the meet, I was aware no one at FSU had done it before and I had a rough race in doing it. I was leading the whole way and then dropped back and it was only in that final 50 meters that I came back to win it. Coach (Braman) never had someone win it before and I knew that would give us a really good shot at winning the team title, which we didn’t, but we came really close. That was my first season here and my first ACC Championship.