By Emmanuel Berbari
With Fall officially upon us, the Fordham cross country team is only looking to heat up as a collective unit. However, one individual has always brought the fire as a distance runner. Senior Thomas Slattery, a native of Long Island and one of the team’s true leaders, was the Atlantic 10 champion in the 3,000 meter run and the Metropolitan champion in the 5,000 meter run last year, but he is not someone who rests on his laurels. He continually instills that mindset in his fellow teammates as he makes strides of his own in 2017. The Fordham Ram had a chance to sit down with the cross country standout.
TFR: How did you get into running?
TS: With my brother. My brother and sister are both older than me and started running. I went to Garden City Middle School and I started in seventh grade. My brother got really good, so I thought it might just be in the family. My dad did it, so I just kept going at it and after a while, it kind of just became a very big part of my life.
TFR: What was your favorite part of your high school experience at Chaminade and what was it like excelling in a competitive cross country environment over there?
TS: Winning our CHSAA championship in cross country my senior year. That was the best season I have ever experienced. The team environment that we had was incredible. We had such awesome, fun guys. We all enjoyed hanging out with each other so much. That kind of environment is really hard to come by.
TFR: Why did you choose Fordham? What was the recruitment and college decision process like for you?
TS: I didn’t look at too many schools. When you are getting recruited you are a little more selective. It came down to Buffalo, Michigan State [and Fordham]. My brother was here, Fordham was really good with financial aid, I love the city here and the Jesuit aspect is probably the biggest reason why I came here.
TFR: What are your goals for the rest of the season?
TS: To get another A10 title, individually, but I also want us to get top three as a team. I think we can pull it together.
TFR: With a team consisting of so much talented youth, have you taken more of a leadership role this season?
TS: I think it’s developed over the past four years. We have a lot of young guys on the team now. A lot of them are people that are from the same area, which is probably the best part of it, so we all get along well. I like to teach the guys the little things and what to care about, so that’s a big developmental thing for the long run.
TFR: What would be one piece of advice you would give any freshman who is looking to stand out on the team?
TS: To focus on the little things and don’t be afraid to do things yourself. You can work hard, but you can also work smart. Be bold with your goals and the rest will take care of itself.
TFR: When you are not running, what are your favorite hobbies?
TS: I love to go to the city and eat doughnuts with my girlfriend. We like to have fun dates, we love finding new spots to hang out in. New York City is a really fun spot. It’s a crazy place because you have all of these different options that you might never have seen before.
TFR: Favorite Fordham memory?
TS: My freshman year living in Queen’s Court was a very enriching experience. All of the people that I was surrounded by became such huge leaders around campus. Beginning of that year, meeting everyone, favorite Fordham memory.
TFR: What are your plans beyond Fordham?
TS: I could see myself in the entrepreneurial field and working in startups, but I also have a large interest in supply chain management and logistics, so I think something along those lines.
TFR: Runners generally try to stay in the best shape possible, but everyone loves to put a dent into their routine once in a while. You mentioned doughnuts. Would you say that’s your favorite junk food?
TS: Doughnuts, but I also love a good pint of Ben & Jerry’s – Milk and Cookies is my favorite flavor. I eat candy and I like to binge.