By Mark Mausner — STAFF WRITER
Junior Hofstra cross-country runner Jack Finlayson is in the midst of a long off-season after the Pride finished in 29th place in the NCAA Division 1 Northeast Regional.
The Orillia, Ontario, Canada native has improved every year since he’s been on the team and he now looks to have his finest season as a senior.
“I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about disciplining yourself and your body for months at a time just so that you can run a couple of seconds faster than you did the year before,” Finlayson said.
After first receiving a cross-country scholarship to Hofstra in 2013, Finlayson had to make some minor adjustments to his new home.
“Orillia was a very small town so coming to New York was a huge difference. Other than that, though, the U.S and Canada are pretty similar. The only thing I had to get used to was the sayings people use down here,” he said.
When making the jump from Twin Lakes High School to Hofstra University, he also had to get used to a strenuous training regimen.
“All of a sudden you’re training more and more. Training in college isn’t necessarily more intense than high school, there’s just more volume,” he said. “The big jump was the amount of miles I ran in a week went up a lot.”
Finlayson saw the fruits of his labor at the 2015 NCAA Regional. Finlayson’s 10K time of 32:53 is the ninth-best in Hofstra history.
His progress is due to the team’s high level of training, which is something for which the 20-year-old has been preparing for most of his life.
“I started running in grade four. It wasn’t until my senior year that I just dropped everything else,” he said. “You’ve got to, at one point, decide what you’re going to focus on.
“I think when you’re younger it’s better to do as many sports as possible and it’s better to just do it for fun. But when you want to go to college and play that sport, you have to really narrow it down.”
Finlayson played five different sports in high school, but focused mainly on basketball, cross-country and track. In the end, he let nature narrow things down for him.
“By the time I reached grade 11, I realized I wasn’t going to go D1 for basketball. I’m only 5’9” and I’m not athletic enough. So it was then that I decided to focus more on track and cross country,” he said.
Although he is a multi-sport athlete, Finlayson’s interests go beyond sports.
“I play a lot of music,” he said. “I play guitar, bass, synthesizer and keyboard. I produce a lot of stuff, too. I prefer psychedelic rock or pop.”
Finlayson is a film studies major, but he believes he may go in another direction after college.
“I think I’m leaning more towards the sound production side of things. I’m hoping to work in a studio, audio engineering for bands or doing sound design for film. I haven’t quite decided which one I want to go with yet,” he said.
Before he builds his career after college, Finlayson has more goals he would like to achieve while he still runs for the Pride.
“For me, the end goal would be breaking the school record in the 8K of 25:02 set by Dan Rono, a former teammate of mine who graduated a few years ago,” he said.
Finlayson recorded a time of 26:10 at his final 8K of the season at the CAA Championships in October.
“It’s just about the amount of work you put into it. At the end of the day, whoever puts in the most is going to get the most out of it,” Finlayson said.