Where are they now: Dorman alumnus Ryan Jank


What was the biggest adjustment you had to make to compete at the college level?

I think the biggest adjustment that I had to make was learning to run in a crowd. In high school, you run a lot of dual meets and I almost always ran upfront. In college, however, you often run big invitationals where there are a lot of people around the same level of ability. There is a lot less room for errors at the collegiate level.

How would you rate your college running career and overall college experience?

Overall, I am very satisfied with my college experience at Charlotte.

There were a few personal goals that I came up short on (missed qualifying for NCAA Region by 4 seconds in the 5K), but I was fortunate enough to win one individual conference championship in the Indoor 5K and be a part of a handful of team championships in Indoor and Outdoor track.

I don’t think I could have asked for a better coach in Brad Herbster (now at Clemson) or teammates over my five years at Charlotte.

Is there anything you can tell high school athletes to better prepare them for the college experience?

I think the biggest thing that most high school runners could do to better prepare themselves is to start building up their miles and increasing the pace on their runs.

Do you plan to attend South Carolina for any outdoor meets this coming season?

I work for a track and field timing company now, so I work a lot of weekends. I usually don’t get to see any meets outside the ones that I work. We do time the New Balance High School Nationals, so hopefully I’ll see some South Carolina representation there.

Have you been back to see a meet recently?

I haven’t been to a meet in a couple of years, but I still loosely follow South Carolina running. My sister is an assistant coach for the girls’ team at Dorman so she keeps me up-to-date on my alma mater.

What memories from competing in high school stand out the most?

The three memories that stand out the most are:
1. Beating Byrnes, the defending State Champions, at a tri-meet with Rock Hill my first year running. This win proved to be a turning point with Dorman’s cross country program and we ended up winning the Region Championship that year.
2. Being a part of Dorman’s first Cross Country State Championship team in 2002. 
3. Choking at the Cross Country State Championships my senior year, causing our team to finish second. Fortunately, I was able to have some redemption in the Spring by winning the 3200m at State to finish out my high school career.

What do you miss most about running in high school?

I miss all of the runs and workouts with my old teammates. To this day, those guys are still some of my closest friends.

What piece of coaching or advice that someone gave you has been the biggest help?

After a bad race in high school, Coach Urban tried putting everything in perspective by telling me to keep my head up because, in the grand scheme of things, “it is just a foot race.”

I had a history of choking at the big meets until my junior year in college when I reminded myself of this. Once I stopped stressing about where I needed to be in the race or how many points I needed to score and just have fun racing, I started to have some success.

I’m not sure that Coach (Bobby) Urban meant for his condolences to be taken as advice, but it has stuck with me over the years.

What are you doing in the present and hope to do in the future?

I currently work for Flash Results, one of the premier track and field timing companies in the world. I help manage the business and travel around the country working events from small college invitationals to the Olympic Trials. Last year, we timed the Pan American Games in Guadalajara and the Arab Games in Doha, Qatar.

How is the adjustment post-college?

For me, it’s hard to stay motivated to get out and run after college. I still maintain a base level of fitness to be competitive at the local road races, but I have a new appreciation for the teammates and coaches that I have had during my high school and college careers.