Andrew Peng commits to Colorado College for cross country and track and field

February 6, 2023


Used with permission from Andrew Peng

Senior Andrew Peng will be joining the Colorado College cross country and track and field team.

Senior Andrew Peng has committed to Colorado College for cross country and track and field after four years of consistent training. There, he plans to major in applied mathematics and continue his exemplary running career, which has included his personal record of 2 minutes and 5 seconds in the 800-meter mid-distance and 17 minutes and 58 seconds in the 5000-meter long-distance races.

Peng was a member of Miller Middle School’s track team and has been running all his life to stay fit. In ninth grade, he signed up for Lynbrook’s cross country team with his friends, initially treating it as a form of endurance training for long-distance races in track and field. Since then, Peng began to run on a near-daily basis.

Despite burnout and plateaus in performance, Peng has stuck to cross country and track, out of pure enjoyment of running. In particular, injuries tested his dedication to the sport. At the beginning of his high school career, Peng struggled with a muscle overuse injury from training too hard. However, this situation helped him comprehend how much stress his body could handle. After a season-long recovery period, he was able to work toward new personal records by using a better training schedule that pushed him to a healthy limit. 

“I was getting slower and slower,” Peng said. “It was hard to see others running past me while my progress remained stagnant.”

Indeed, Peng’s teammates agree that resilience is one of his key traits. In the 2022 cross country season, Peng initially didn’t do well in a number of races, owing to his poor sleep schedule compounded with over-training. Nevertheless, he learned from his mistakes and bounced back in time for Central Coast Section championships, in which he was able to make the CCS team for the first time.

“He just refuses to give up,” junior Adit Kantak said. “He doesn’t let his past slumps affect him.”

As it only takes up to an hour or so every day, training does not generally get in the way of Peng’s schoolwork. Nevertheless, his daily runs occasionally become tedious. When he feels lethargic, Peng stays motivated by reminding himself about what he runs for — notably faster times and the sunshine and scenery outside. 

“I’m able to meet other like-minded runners and make new friends through this shared sport,” Peng said. “Running is an outlet to get my mind off academic pressures.”

Peng is thankful for not only his family’s support during his running career, but also to his teammates. Cross country is both an individual and a team sport; runners are judged by their personal times, which are added to their team’s rankings. Training with friends was a key incentive in regards to his cross country career, so the running community is especially important to Peng. 

“Our team is pretty laid back, but we do know to take the training seriously,” Peng said. “My teammates and coaches push me day in and day out to bring out the best in me.”

Peng’s teammates look up to him as a strong leader. He is regarded as the team captain, despite the fact he does not hold the formal position. Before races, Peng brings the team together to warm-up and get ready. He is also often the first person runners will go to with questions.

“He’s really approachable and encouraging,” Kantak said. “With Andrew, I always feel that we’re in it together, and we’re in it to win it.”

With running being such a large part of his life, Peng naturally wanted to continue his athletic career at the next level. He reached out to coaches of certain universities that fit with his academic goals, and visited a few campuses and their teams over the summer break before his senior year. In this process, he was especially drawn to Colorado College. 

“I really enjoyed the team environment when they hosted me in October,” Peng said. “It was wonderful meeting everyone, and Colorado Springs is such a beautiful place. Being right under Pikes Peak, the location is hard to beat.”

Included with his plans of pursuing financial mathematics, Peng hopes to continue breaking personal records in cross country. Colorado College’s block plan, in which students focus on one class for 18 days at a time, offers Peng the flexibility in his schedule to excel in both his academic and athletic careers. 

Cross country has become more than just a way of exercise to Peng, and he looks forward to running for as long as his body allows him to. 

“Know that difficulties and obstacles will come to pass,” Peng said. “If you can work through them, you will be able to return to chasing your goals.”

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