Running for the NJIT Highlanders this season is newly introduced Freshman, Gerard Gill. Gill, a graduate from Old Bridge High School, has been looking to make a true impact this Cross Country season. Gerard has already reached several momentous achievements this season. Gerard was able to set the NJIT varsity and freshman record in the 8k event by finishing in 27:20.1 minutes. But, this record did not stay for long, Gerard had other plans during last weeks invitational meet. Gerard was able break his personal best time for the 8k by running the course in 26:23.35 minutes. With this time he was able to place fourth in the race and cement his spot as 1 of only 10 runners to complete the race in under 27 minutes.
This helped the Highlanders secure a 3rd place spot at the invitational, earning Gerard NJIT’s first Cross Country ASUN Runner of the week honors. Thinking about the future, Gill states that he now has the goal of being able to run at or below 26 minutes this season. When asked about how he first began running Gerard mentioned his early childhood. Gerard stated that he played nearly every sport when he was younger, but ultimately fell in love with running during the 6th grade.
His older brother was a runner during this time and influenced little Gerard to start running. Cross country is a very demanding event, XC Highlanders wake up at 6 am almost everyday to run 8-9 miles on an easy day and 13-15 miles on a hard day. Gill acknowledges the fact that XC takes a ton of toughness to succeed, but states that he loves the challenge it places on you both physically and mentally. This love of the challenge is what kept him focused on running throughout high school. He credits that he received immense support from his high school coaches and his parents. Gerard states that he also appreciates all that the veteran runners do for him by helping him with study hours, homework and overall just offering helpful advice.
Not only is Gerard an excellent runner but he is equivalently gifted in his academics. Gerard is already considered a sophomore due to the AP standing he earned in his senior year of high school. When asked how he deals with the workload he has to manage, Gerard states that designated naps throughout the day help him the most as of right now. He is just extremely grateful to be able to continue doing what he loves to do in college, especially for a D1 school.
He does not mind the responsibilities of being a D1 student athlete, as he states he is “Blessed just to be here”. Gill is looking forward to regionals and meeting some of his old high school friends throughout the season.