September 26, 2002 - by
In The Locker Room With Joep Tigchelaar

Sept. 26, 2002

Sophomore cross country sensation Joep Tigchelaar sat down with and discussed the season, his role on the team and his individual and team goals for the 2002-03 season.

How is this year’s Men’s Cross Country team different from last year’s?
We have a real good mix of young people that are really ready to go and focused on what they’re doing. The seniors have experience and can be leaders for the team whereas last year we had the team falling apart a bit with some of the seniors leaving in the middle of the season and the freshmen making some freshmen mistakes. This year, our freshmen and our leadership position guys are learning from that.

How is your role different on this year’s team?
I think by what I’ve shown last year in cross country and especially in track, that a lot of the newcomers on the team do look at me for some guidance and leadership. Last year I was kind of coming into it and I felt I had to prove myself so this year I feel I can be more of a leader and show by example of how it’s done and give them advice.

How are the newcomers progressing?
I think we have one of the best freshmen classes we could ever have. Kevin Cook is running ridiculously good for a freshman right now and is setting a precedent for the rest of the guys. They’re really not making the freshmen mistakes like last year and are doing a great job in keeping themselves focused and dedicated to the team.

What are some of the team’s goals for the season?
Our number one goal is to make it to the nationals. We were so close last year and this year we have to make the nationals. We also have ACC championships and the conference is really competitive so it will be tough to win that.

What are some of your individual goals for the season?
I set some marks out for myself but I really want to be one of the best leaders I can be and get my team to nationals.

Tell us something unique or something people should know about this year’s team.
I think what really makes this team is we’ve come together as a family. We do a lot of stuff together after practices such as we’ll have dinner together and one of us will cook for each other. I really think it’s a big power of the team that we have so many people coming together as one, and I think if we can keep that up, this year’s going to be great.

Where do you think the Men’s Cross Country program fits in with other programs at FSU?
When I first came here, I thought this program was one the most wonderful things I’d ever seen being not used to having trainers around and having so much guidance from administration since I’m coming from Europe. I feel we are in an advantage position but I see all the other programs at Florida State and it shows up that everything is taken care of in a great way. I think once we put those national markings up on the board, we will be right up there with the more recognizable programs.

What are some of the key invitationals or meets during the season?
The end of the season is what really counts for us. We have four big meets that really matter. We have the NCAA pre-nationals where all the teams in the country who are ranked will be there and it’s a good chance to get an at-large bid to nationals. We have the regional championships, which qualifies us for nationals and between those two we have the ACC championship where we have to perform well. We also have the Great American Festival, which is something we do as a run-up to get ourselves in shape and in working condition.

What else do you like to do besides run?
Lately, it’s become narrower and narrower because the higher the level you get in the sport, the more you have to sacrifice and I came over here leaving my girlfriend in the Netherlands. When I’m at home in the Netherlands my life changes around completely. Here, my focus is on my running and try to go to bed around 10 o’clock at night. Basically, when I’m not out there running, I’m either going to school or studying and on the weekends we get together and watch movies.

By William Clark
Florida State Sports Information
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