A to Z With Austin Montini

By Shailey Klein

Oak Hall Junior Austin Montini’s best race just happened to be for the state championship, which he won with a time of 15:33.63. This also catapulted the boys cross country team into second place among the Class 1A teams. Up next for Montini is the Foot Locker Cross Country South Regional Championships on Nov. 30 in North Carolina. In the meantime, we picked Montini’s brain in this edition of A to Z!

Area runner you enjoy watching? That would probably have to be my brother [OHS freshman Caden Montini] because he’s always improving and always getting better and now he’s getting to the point where he can actually see me in the races and I can see him which is kind of fun.

Best pre-meet meal? I have a lot of peanut butter in general, a lot of peanut butter and a lot of bread. Simple carbs to digest before the race.

Coach’s words of advice heading into state? Coach always tells me to get out and stay on pace and instead of focusing on other competitors in the race, to just focus on myself and what I can do. And then just be in the mix coming down that last home stretch, and kick the best that I can and just do the best that I can.

Distance you run on a weekly basis? I probably average six or seven miles [per day].

Entertaining practice? We have a lot of entertaining practices so it’s hard to choose just one. I remember we did a time trial one day and Charlie DePlato came with this big, giant scream mask, and this horn thing, cheering us on. 

Favorite running moment? That’s probably got to be winning state this year. It was a really, really great moment after a lot of training. It definitely paid off. 

Goals for Foot Locker? My goal for Foot Locker is pretty broad. I’m just going to go out there and do my best and see what I can do. I’m just going to put myself in the mix and run my times, get up there with that lead pack, and then see what happens.

Helpful tips to keeping your composure leading up to state? Just relax. I try not to think about it or stress about it too much, but mainly just focus on schoolwork or whatever else is going on.

Interesting thing about you away from running? I do a lot of drawing and art. I’m in ACP here and I like to draw superheroes or action figures and that kind of thing. 

Joker on the team? Miles [Kelleher] or my brother, [Caden] is funny sometimes too.

Keys to success in running? More than anything else, do your best every time. Every time you put your foot to the line, lay it all out there, even if it means throwing up. 

Least favorite course? I ran one course in Pennsylvania one time in the mountains and that course was the worst one I’ve ever run. I swear it was long and it was through these giant hill. Basically, you started at the bottom of the mountain and ended at the top. It was also the slowest course I’ve ever run. 

Music you listen to? I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. It’s hard to choose just one. But, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, that’s pretty good stuff right there.

Netflix or Hulu? Netflix.

Other runner in the state you enjoy competing against? Junius Brown [senior runner from Maclay]. I’ve been running with him a lot this season. He’s also in 1A and it was really fun to go up against him at the state meet and I’ll probably see him again at Foot Locker. He always gives me a good challenge.

Preparations for a big meet include? I get a lot of sleep the night before and two nights beforehand, or at least I try to. That’s pretty much all you can do: just stay relaxed and get lots of sleep. 

Question you have about your future running career? I don’t know, I just take it one step at a time and just give it my all every time. 

Relaxing part of your day? Probably getting home. Getting home is pretty good after a long day of practice, getting some Gatorade thats pretty good. 

Superstitions? I don’t have very many, but my brother used to always wear the same pair of underwear and same pair of socks when he ran. 

The best part about getting runner-up at state as a team? Well, it’s really great to see all of our runners put in so much work and have it all culminate. It was really fun watching them all give it their all and it all come together. 

Universities or colleges considering? Honestly, I’m just a junior right now. I’m trying to keep my options open. I’ve definitely got a bunch of schools on my list right now, in-state and out of state.

Vacation spot? I like going to the beach which is really fun and then I also like going skiing. We went to Colorado last year and it was really, really fun. 

What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? Being an Eagle is really being a part of one big family here at Oak Hall and being a part of our team is really, really fun. We all give it our all and do our best in academics, athletics, and whatever else we end up doing. So, it’s really fun to have other people like me who also enjoy the same things that I do. 

Xbox or Playstation? Xbox.

Your impact on the team? I try to give everybody a good example and lead by example and go out there and do my best so that they’ll also feel like giving their best. And I hope that I’ve inspired them to run their best and do the best they can.

Zoo animal? Probably an otter.