Q&A: Men’s Cross Country Freshman Standout Jac Cokley

Jac Cokley has been the anchor of a Waynesburg University men’s cross country team that took another step forward as a program this year. Cokley, a freshman from Cochranton, Pennsylvania, posted team leading numbers at multiple meets this season, earning him multiple PAC Rookie of the Week honors. At PAC Championships, Cokley finished 11th overall and second for Waynesburg, earning him 2nd team All-PAC honors. I sat down with Cokley to discuss his rookie season running and his freshman year at Waynesburg.


Q: What got you into running?


A: “I started running my freshman year of high school. A bunch of my friends were on the team and they needed one more person. They finally convinced me, so I decided to go out and run. I was doing it more to be a friend and then I realized how much I enjoy it, so from there I just developed and kept wanting to get better.”


Q: How did you see yourself progress from that time throughout your high school career?


A: “I started in the summer and I was just getting started so I was barely running anything at all. Then afterwards, my friend and I decided we were going to run in the winter because we didn’t have anything better to do and from there I just saw myself get better and better with the winter training so I just continued that.”


Q: What was the most important thing running taught you in high school?


A: “It taught me a lot of hard work and dedication to get better and to actually succeed in the sport which translated to school very well because to do well in school you also had to have a lot of hard work and dedication.”


Q: How did you get to Waynesburg?


A: “Originally, I was going to be an engineering major. [Coach Chris] Hardie contacted me and I decided to talk to him back and forth, and I heard they had a split engineering program. Then after that I decided I wanted to be a chemistry major and saw that Waynesburg had a pretty good chemistry program, so between Hardie and the chemistry program here, that’s what led me here.”


Q: What are some of your takeaways from your first semester here at Waynesburg?


A: “I have really enjoyed this year. I’ve enjoyed the longer miles overall that college gives, so I transitioned really well to college running. I’ve also learned that balancing school and running in college is actually a little bit harder than it was in high school but it’s very doable.”


Q: What are some of the things you’ve picked up from coach Hardie in your first year here?


A: “Hardie is an interesting character, but he has taught me a lot and has been really helpful in the transition, especially moving away from home for the first time, that was hard. But he’s been very helpful and he’s been really kind and willing to help everyone on the team.”


Q: What are some of your goals for your remaining time at Waynesburg?


A: “I definitely want to get through the chem program and get that degree in my hand, that’s definitely priority number one. On the running side of things, I’d love to go to nationals at least one year, hopefully more than that. I’d love to win the PAC race and have a great showing overall.”


Q: Outside of running, what are some of your other interests?

A: “I play a lot of card games competitively, it’s a big thing of mine, I play mostly Pokemon but I’ve also played Magic a couple of times. I also really like Marvel and comics in general. I enjoy playing board games with family and friends, so it’s still the competitive side, but it’s just competitive with everything else.”