Q&A With Ashley Miess And Ryan Walling
Release: 10/19/2012

Ryan Walling lead the Carolina men as well as the ACC at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational last week with a PR 8K time of 24:00. 

Congratulations on running 24 minutes flat in the Wisconsin adidas Invitational last Friday! What was your game plan going into the race?

Thank you very much! Our game plan was to just pack it up as a team and try to have as many of us together at 5K as possible. We wanted to be together when the real racing started and really push each other.

You were the fastest male representing the ACC at Wisconsin, how does that feel?

It feels great and it was something I definitely didn't think would happen with all the great runners in the ACC and on this team. Hopefully I can prove I belong up there with the top guys at ACC Championships.

What are you hoping to accomplish at the ACC Championships on Oct. 27th?

Individually I would love to be All-ACC but I need to finish as high as I can for the team. We have a great group of guys that can compete with any of the teams in the conference and our goal is to really get our pack together and see if we can beat some of the better teams in the ACC.

What helps you stay motivated through the season?

Definitely the new energy this team has. This team has a new and optimistic view that I haven't seen since I've been at Carolina. The hard work that everyone else puts forth each and every day makes you really want to work harder and do all the little things you can to help the team.

What is the most interesting thing you can tell us about Coach Mark VanAlstyne and/or Coach Angela Reckart?

Well the energy that I mentioned is largely due in part to our new coaching staff. I thought it might be hard for the team making the transition but Coach VanAlstyne and Coach Reckart have helped fuel the great outlook this team has. They are adamant about giving us every opportunity to succeed and they are always willing to help with any questions or concerns we have. I can't imagine having better support for the student-athletes than Coach VanAlstyne, Coach Reckart and the coaching staff we have in place.


Ashley Miess is a veteran leader on the UNC women's cross country team and most recently helped the team to a strong finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. She was second-highest finishing runner for Carolina, running the 6K in a PR 20:54. 


What was your game plan going into the Wisconsin adidas Invitational?

My game plan was to keep the same mentality I had going into the Notre Dame Invitational, which was to not put too much pressure on myself and to stay relaxed.


You've PRed a lot recently, how does that feel?

It's nice to see that the hard work is paying off and makes me eager to find out what more I can achieve. I've had several interruptions in my college running career due to injuries and coaching changes, but I'm grateful that things are finally starting to come together.


You're one of the few veterans for the cross country team having run at ACCs and at NCAA Regionals and Nationals -- how does that experience help you in 2012?

Having experience going into the championship meets is helpful because of my familiarity with the sizes of the meets. ACCs is different from a meet like Nationals in which there are hundreds of tightly packed runners racing on a narrow course.


What helps you stay motivated through the season?

After battling through injuries, I now view each opportunity to run as a blessing. Running isn't something that I have to do; it's a gift. My teammates also keep my motivated with their effort and encouragement. In addition, I love being a Tar Heel, so representing Carolina in the baby blue uniform is motivation in itself.


What is the most interesting thing you can tell us about Coach Mark VanAlstyne and/or Coach Angela Reckart?

Although they have only been at UNC for a little over two months, both coaches have already made great strides in improving the distance program. Coach VanAlstyne is very organized, which I appreciate because I like to plan ahead. Coach VanAlstyne also takes the time to hold individual weekly meetings with every member of the team. Coach Reckart is awesome. Her passion for the sport is apparent, plus she shares my love of UNC gear. Most important, both coaches care about their athletes not just as runners but as students and people.
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