Flashback Friday is looking back at the top moments from the 2018-19 athletic year each Friday over the summer at the College of Staten Island. Our countdown begins with what was also CSI’s newest varsity sport in 2018-19, Men’s & Women’s Indoor & Outdoor Track & Field.  Our countdown intro focuses on CSI senior Liam McMunn, who on a rain-soaked afternoon at the CUNYAC Championships electrified the event with a pair of gold medal performances.

#10 – Liam McMunn shines at CUNYAC Outdoor Track & Field Championship
Date:  May 12, 2019
Who:  CSI Men’s Track & Field
Where: Icahn Stadium – New York, NY
What Happened:  Putting the cap on a tremendous career, Liam McMunn was spectacular again at the Outdoor CUNYAC Championships.  In the pouring rain, he took the gold medals in both the 800-meter Run and the 1,500-meter Run in a crowded and well-contested field, helping CSI secure a 6th-place finish as a team.  He also had time to run one leg in CSI’s 4×400 team that earned a bronze medal as well.  The following week, McMunn ran in the ECAC Championship, and earned a bronze medal with a career-best run in the 1,500.

16108Q&A…with Liam McMunn

Liam, this was a historical year, CSI’s first as a varsity program.  It must have been very exciting to get underway officially in that capacity.  Being part of the first-ever varsity program was an honor and a privilege. Competing in collegiate races for one more year was a satisfying way to leave CSI. I was able to make a name not only for myself but for the college and program as well. I was training every day for workouts, practicing with my teammates, experiencing again what it felt like to run three seasons non-stop and being a real team again. I loved every bit of it. Running officially for CSI was an amazing experience that I won’t forget, and I will treasure it for life.

For those people that may not know, what are the key differences in your opinion between the indoor season and the outdoor season in terms of how you prepare and condition?  You’re basically running year-round, so how do you stay in peak performance mode all year?  Between indoor and outdoor season, it’s really where you train that is different. Indoor we trained inside mostly at the Ocean Breeze Track & Field Complex. It’s banked 200-meter track is where we practice at night. Casually we run on the treadmills if it’s too cold outside. Outdoors we train outside on the track. Sometimes we go for runs around Willowbrook Park.  As far as staying in shape, To stay in top form is not easy, we have our bad days and our good days all year round. You have to be able to keep moving forward. When the going gets tough, you must keep running. For every season I have a goal in my mind. like this year I wanted to break my personal best of running under two minutes in the 800-meter. It helped me to keep pushing myself at practice and keep testing my limits in races. I also taught myself how to recover after practices to keep myself in tip-top shape like using foam rollers, cool-downs, stretching and eating right too.

The team may not have had the quantity in numbers this year, but certainly had a lot of talent.  Does that push you as an athlete to train harder and be better year after year?   Yes, as an athlete it does push me to train harder, but it’s not just me, but my teammates as well. I know my team doesn’t have the quantity that other CUNY teams out there have, but every single one of my teammates proved that they have the strength and willpower to keep moving forward. The more we believe as a team and work as a unit at practice, the further we reach our goals as a unit.

In distance runs especially, how do you personally measure success? How do you keep pace and know how do to taper yourself when you’re running so that you run a great race?   I usually measure my success by how much I improved in a race. If I hit my personal record or if I’m hitting consistent times in my reps during a workout, that’s how I know if I’m getting better and even the smallest milliseconds matter. For my pace, I usually go out a little hard the first 100 meters, so I don’t get boxed out of the outside lane. Then I keep a controlled pace through the race.  If I’m either boxed in or out I try to move into the outer lanes out the straightway, not the curved lane and with the last 400 or 200 meters to go, I make a break for it and increase my pace to an almost all out sprint. Even if my legs are tired, I run with my heart and push through the pain, leaving nothing behind. Before the day of my race, I take it easy. Nice and easy jog with rolling myself out and strengthening myself out. I used to be nervous before my races but now I mentally treat it like any other day, keep myself calm, listen to my music, have a good breakfast of waffles, fruit, and some water.

Let’s get to the Championship.  Let’s face it, the conditions were miserable.  What role did the weather play, for or against, with your races in particular?  It was a miserable day to race but I kept my hopes high. Usually every year at the championship it’s either scorching hot or pouring rain. I’m used to the weather by now. It was a bit of both, other racers were feeling the same effects of the weather too since the ground was hard to get a grip on. I was able to manage myself through both of my races. I was cold, in my legs mostly, and I felt like they were heavier. The trick is to keep my legs moving so I won’t feel tight before my races and doing a small jog to warm up my legs helps. If you wait for the perfect running condition, you’ll never get anything done. Whatever it takes.

To win the gold in not one but two very tight races, how did that feel?  How were you able to get through the field and hold those leads you had and have strong finishes?  Did you think you were seriously going to win them going in?  It felt amazing to be a double medalist. I wanted to leave a mark on my last year running, that was the goal. To leave that mark not only for myself but to leave the CUNY as a team in a satisfying way was great. It was a good feeling because I know all the hard work training really paid off. I sacrificed to run another year and it was worth it.  As far as the races, I had to play both of them smart.  I didn’t want to give everything I had and not have any gas left at the end of the race. I strategize myself by letting the other runners run ahead of me, waiting patiently, to make my move to the front. I waited for the perfect moment for the competition to fall back and then that was my call to push forward. I gave everything I had in the end. I didn’t think I was going to win one of my races going in. I knew I had a good chance in the 1,500 but not the 800. The competition was fierce but I had to give a shot at trying my best and hope for the best. Whatever the outcome was going to be I was going to be happy either way.

It’s not the first time you’ve medaled at the CUNYAC Champs, but it was the first time as a varsity team.  How did it make you feel being on that podium and knowing you helped shape and define the sport at CSI?   There’s a first for everything. Being part of that first, no one can take that away from me. It felt different since I was getting a medal as a part of a varsity team instead of a club team. I felt I landed more of an impact on the CUNYAC Champs but also gave a shout to CSI to show that we have a track & field program now. I had a helping hand in changing and define the sport. I couldn’t say I helped shape and define it all on my own. My teammates were a big part of that too when they got medals and titles this year too. This year was a huge start to something big in the program. I was happy to be part of that and get to say I was part of that.

Even after a great season, your last one at CSI, there is still a lot of room for growth at CSI for these programs.  What do you see for the future of CSI Track & Field?  The CSI track & field program has the opportunity to grow and flourish. It will take time, but I have high hopes for my teammates to grow. Since the program is looking to move to Division II, it will be great seeing a lot of new talent coming in the building. I see the program having a brand-new track and field where they can train efficiently with equipment to practice their events. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the program and my old teammates and future member of the sports itself. I will always be the biggest supporter. I’m with my team and the program till the end, looking forward to seeing greatness in the team.

Liam, you wrapped up a sensational career by winning team MVP honors for Cross-Country, and both Indoor and Outdoor Track.  Now that you have had a little time to reflect, what do your years at CSI mean to you?  CSI made me the person I am today. I never thought I would run in college, never thought I would win the gold, never thought I’d be an MVP for all three seasons. There were a lot of surprises for me this year. I left a little in the tank for one more year and CSI defined what potential I had. There was a lot in me I never knew I had or saw. I’m glad I made the most out of the years I had and I’m glad I’m leaving behind a legacy. I made memories with my teammates, coaches, and other athletes that I won’t forget.

Other Highlights
CSI Story
Final Race Results
CUNYAC Coverage


Gallery: (5/12/2019) Outdoor T&F @ CUNYS – 5/12/19 – I


Gallery: (5/12/2019) Outdoor T&F @ CUNYS – 5/12/19 – II