Get to Know Riverside's Andrew Castano

Name: Andrew Castano 
School: Riverside
Hobbies: Backpacking, basketball
Event PRs: 1600-4:35, 3200-9:46, 5K: 15:39
Academic interest: Computer engineering and sports training
Interesting fact: I look 12 but I promise you I'm a senior.

How did you get involved in the sport and why?
It actually started back in the spring of seventh grade. I tried out for my middle school soccer team and got cut (lol), so one of my friends convinced me to try out for the track team and I made it. To this day I think it was rigged and that I should have made it.

Did you perform as you expected at
Eye Opener?
Yes and no. I really wanted to break 16 at Eye Opener. The good thing that came out of that race was that even though I started out at like 40th place I didn't give up and came back to a seventh place finish. I'm actually really proud of that because last year I wasn't as mentally tough and I would've given up and pouted about my start the whole race.

What does it mean to help the team win the Eye Opener team title?
It's amazing it really is, it was a big goal of mine because the guys that graduated last year came to watch us race and I wanted to show them that we are capable of greatness this year.

How do you look at rankings and having the
top team ranking in the state?  
It feels great to be 
starting out on top this year, in all of my seasons of cross country here we have started the season as underdogs. Now that we have that title our job is to lengthen the gap between one and two as much as possible.

What do you hope to achieve this weekend at Coaches Classic?

It actually got canceled because of the hurricanes, so we are racing at our school. We are all hoping to set personal bests, even with the schedule change.

2017 season calendar
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What confidence does this give you for rest of the season?
The boys are definitely happy about it, we finally have an edge against teams after all these years. It's a new mentality to train with and changes the sport.

Do you have any family members involved in the sport? Please explain. 
Nope, but I wouldn't actually be here at this level if it weren't for them grinding it out at work. They're actually crazy active now and I'm actually helping my dad train for a 5K. He's going for that 100-year old 5K record.

What roles do you have on the team this year?
I want to show the youngins where hard work takes you. I want them to see that every extra mile I've put in has put me in the place I am today. Maybe they'll go an extra two miles now.

Do you have any post cross country meets plans?
Yes, but I don't know which one I'm doing yet.

Do you have any specific race strategies that work best for you?
I'll get back to you on that in the next interview, I'm still working on it.

What do you enjoy about the team and being on the course with them daily? 
Teamwork makes the dream work and if it weren't for them then I couldn't be chasing this state title like I am today. It's great, they're brothers to me even though I mess with them a little bit.

What plans do you have for the future? 
I'm just trying to take it a season at a time.

Are you looking to run at a college? 
Without a doubt. 

Do you remember your first race? Yes, it was the 800 and I was trash.
Biggest noob in the circle and I had free runs as my racers. 

What do you feel you get out of the sport?
It's what I don't get out of it that makes me want to keep running. When I don't hit my personal best or win a race I want to lace up and train harder and smarter.

How did summer training go?
Great, I think I definitely set myself up well this season.

Do you have a specific reason to achieve a goal or goals this season?
I want to be the best runner to ever come out of Riverside.

What do you enjoy the most about being part of the Riverside team?
It's a family, I love those guys. I also like running on trails and people saying "Man Riverside, I heard they're at the top." 

What helps you stay focused during practices and races?
I try to not overthink and just do my best. I feel like I get the most out of workouts and races when I do that.

What responsibility do you feel you have to your teammates? Please explain.
I get the least amount of points on the team and I want to show them that they can always rely on me.

How do you balance academics, athletics, and other responsibilities?
It's hard and I definitely slacked my first year but I've gotten a hang of things. The most I can say is always have a sense of priority.

What challenges or injuries have you encountered in the sport? How did you stay motivated during this time?
Track this past season was awful, I wasn't myself when I ran and it was affecting my times. I just had to break it down and reconstruct. It was hard but my team is always pushing me to be best that I can be and I owe that to them, seriously.

If there is one thing in the world you could do, what would it be and why?
Break 15.

Favorite runner(s): Matthew Centrowitz, David Principe, Drew hunter
Favorite food: Yoooo wings

Favorite training shoe and racing shoe: I like to train in the Saucony Freedom Isos and Saucony Endorphin
Inspirational person in your life: shout out to my man Jeff Milliman, he has the passion of a hundred people. All of the varsity guys that have graduated were huge inspirations.