Oct. 3, 2013
RollTide.com caught up with each new member of the track and cross country team to find out more about them. Today, we feature Conner Thompson, a freshman from Oakland High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where he won the 2012 TSSAA Region 4 Cross Country title by running the 5K in a time of 16:00.87.
What are you looking forward to most about being a member of the team?
Competing and being around all the guys. I'm looking forward to being in an SEC atmosphere and being a teammate with all these great runners.
Why did you choose Alabama?
It's just a great fit for me. I really like what (head) coach (Dan) Waters and (assistant) coach (Alan) Tribble are doing here. I really like all the guys, and I believe in the training program here.
How did your family react to your college decision?
They were pretty excited. They were obviously really happy for me. We grew up Tennessee fans, so this is a little bit of a rough transition. But I think it's worked out really well.
When did you begin competing and why?
I casually ran cross country in middle school. I picked up track in my sophomore year of high school.
When did you realize you could compete at the Division 1 level?
After my first track season in my sophomore year, I realized that if I kept getting better I could have a shot at a place like this.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
This past spring, my high school teammate and I ended up finishing first and second (respectively) in the 2-mile at state. We had talked about it since picking up cross country in sixth grade, so being able to share that with him was a really special moment for us.
What has been the biggest adjustment you've had to make as a college athlete?
Just being accountable for myself and making sure I have everything I need in line. Mom isn't here anymore to tell me when and where to be, so I have to make sure I don't miss any appointments and that kind of stuff.
What goals do you have for this season?
In cross country, I want to help the team as much as possible. Hopefully, we keep improving and do really well at conference and regionals. Specifically, for track, I'd like to run around 14:20 in the 5k.
What is one weakness that you'd like to improve moving forward?
I need to work on my focus. I tend to get complacent (at) midseason. I need to buckle down, concentrate harder and make sure I do everything I need to do.
Have you decided on a major?
I'm undecided engineering, leaning towards mechanical engineering.
You finished third on the team and sixth overall in your first race; what was that like?
I was fairly confident going in, but it was nice to be comfortable up front with the guys and run well with them.
Aside from track, what is your favorite sport?
Baseball. I grew up playing it a lot. I'm a big Cubs fan. I love watching it.
Athletes have strict diet regimens, but if there is one food you cannot live without, what is it?
Cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. It's a pretty big weakness of mine.
What's on your iPod right now?
Nothing too crazy. A lot of variety. Lots of Lifehouse and The Fray.