Oct. 22, 2015

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – To an outsider, the sport of cross country may seem like an individual endeavor. However, those associated with the Notre Dame cross country program understand the importance of the collective unit toward reaching shared and solitary aspirations. This season, the program welcomed some fresh faces to campus who are strongly impacting the team on and off the course.

Freshmen Anna Rohrer, a native of Mishawaka, Ind., and Annie Heffernan, from Cincinnati, Ohio, recently sat down for a conversation, providing fans an insight into their personalities and friendship.

Annie To Anna
Annie: Would you rather be best friends with Taylor Swift or Katy Perry, and why?

Anna: I think Taylor Swift, because I like her music and she seems like a good, genuine person. Not saying that Katy Perry doesn’t, but Katy Perry’s a little wilder and I think Taylor Swift’s a little calmer.

Annie: Do you have any hidden talents?

Anna: Yes, a couple. Well, I can play the flute and piano. Also, I can stand on my head.

Annie: Oh, really?

Anna: Yes. And I’m pretty good at cake decorating, because I did it for five years in our fair. I took lessons and stuff.

Annie: What was your first impression of me when we met?

Anna: I thought you were really quiet. I later discovered you’re not as quiet as I thought you were. And, I obviously knew you were a good runner because we were on recruiting visits together and we went to camp together, so I kind of knew you.

Annie: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

Anna: I would probably say, well I haven’t been to many other countries except for Scotland and Canada. But, of the places I’ve been, I’d probably say Colorado, because I love the mountains and I would love to run there. It’s so beautiful and the people seem really friendly. There’s a lot to do.

Annie: Have you had any awkward moments since you’ve arrived on campus?

Anna: I have had my fair share of awkward moments. Well, for one, I don’t know what the odds of this are, but somebody had the exact same bike with the exact same brand of lock parked two down from mine. I spent like two minutes trying to unlock their bike, so that was bad.

Then, I was cross training and I decided to go on the Stairmaster for 10 minutes. My best friend from high school told me it was a really good workout. I made the mistake of looking up while I wasn’t holding on and tripped off the Stairmaster. I don’t know how this happened, but nobody saw. I started cracking up, because I thought it was hilarious. When I looked around, nobody was looking.

Annie: Only awkward for yourself.

Anna: Yes.

Annie: What is your typical pre-race ritual?

Anna: Well, I always eat peanut butter toast with a banana the morning of a race. And, I do the same jogging warm-up, like 15 or 20 minutes. I do the same drills I learned in high school. I also always jump up and down at the starting line. I think it helps you loosen up.

Annie: Yeah, I do that too. Who have been some of the most important people in your running career?

Anna: Well, definitely my high school coach because I was really blessed to have a high school coach who was good and knew a lot of running. He taught me everything I know about the sport. Also, in seventh grade I decided to start running because my woodshop teacher, who was also the cross country coach and my physical education teacher, talked me into trying cross country. I ended up liking it.

Annie: Why did you pick Notre Dame?

Anna: I think I picked it for a lot of reasons. At the time it was difficult, but now I don’t know why I wouldn’t have gone here. I just really like the spiritual aspect of campus and I know I’m going to get a great education. I felt like I really connected with the team on my visit. A lot of things factored together.

Anna to Annie

Anna: When you’re not at practice, what could someone find you doing?

Annie: Um … homework. I’m kind of a nerd like that.

Anna: Which homework in particular?

Annie: All of the homework.

Anna: I can relate, because all of my classes have so much work going on. If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Annie: My superpower would be teleportation, because then I could win every race. I could just teleport myself to the end of the race.

Anna: Have you had any awkward moments since you’ve arrived on campus?

Annie: Yes. Well, the other day … should I tell the swimming story or should I tell the biking story?

Anna: Tell both.

Annie: I’ve had a good amount of awkward moments since I’ve been here. My first week here, I ran over two people with my bike on the same day.

I also recently went to the pool to aqua jog. I’ve never aqua jogged before without the floaty belts, and they didn’t have the floaty belts. I tried to aqua jog without it and I couldn’t do it, so I decided just to swim. I’ve never swum before for cross-training, so I tried to do whatever this stroke is … what’s it called?

Anna: Freestyle?

Annie: Oh, ok.

Anna: Or doggy paddle, actually, the way you were doing it.

Annie: Well, I think the lifeguard thought I was drowning or something, because she got up off her stool and came over to check out and see if I was ok. I was like, ‘I’m not drowning … I’m swimming.’

Anna: Can you guess my favorite color?

Annie: Blue?

Anna: Close, it’s teal.

Anna: Who is your running inspiration?

Annie: I guess a running inspiration would be my dad. He just started running after I got into running in high school. He took a year to pick it up and he started to do marathons and stuff. He’s in his 60s, so it’s pretty awesome and inspirational.

by Ashley Albertson, Athletics Communications Assistant Director