Dan Valentino

Dan Valentino is a senior at Freehold Township High School. He has committed to Rugters University to run Division 1 cross country. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dan and asking him a few questions!


What are you most looking forward to as a college athlete?

– Number 1 is obviously the higher level of competition. Running in high school and New Jersey is tough. New Jersey is probably the toughest state from long distance running. So, going to college and seeing all these guys sub 4 minutes in a mile and sub 8.15 in a 3K, you have the steeple chase, you have all these events and a lot of good guys. Everybody on these teams were the best guys in high school so I am excited to have a fun little battle.

Why did you choose Rutgers?

– It really came down to which college put me in the best spot to succeed after college, not necessarily from an athletic standpoint. When you get to the Power 5 programs they are all pretty much the same. They are all very cookie cutter when it comes to their athletic programs and athletic facilities. So, it really just came down to the school and which school put me in the best situation for me to succeed after college and Rutgers did that for me.

What advice do you have for those looking to become college athletes?

– I think, number 1, it is really a commitment and a grind day in and day out. If you really want it you can go and do it. It is not just “oh I am going to college for sports” its something more than that. You have to understand that from an athletic and mental standpoint that once you get to the next level that yeah you got there and you were the best kid in high school, but everyone around you was the best kid in high school, so you have to realize that and humble yourself a little bit. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out early if you have the skills and are talented enough. Definitely reach out to coaches and recruiting advisors. I did not go down the advisor route, but you know people have and it worked so it’s never too early.

Who is your biggest role model in life?

– This is a tough one, I would have to say my dad. My dad has really worked hard for everything in his life. His parents didn’t really help with anything, he paid for every single cent of his college, he got his own job and now he works for his own company. So seeing him do that himself and work for something for greater good and not just for himself but for his family just really motivated me to go and do that and work for myself.

What’s your favorite memory from running at Township?

– Honestly just the comradery with the guys, running with your teammates, and having a team in general. Having practices early in the morning where you’re out at 7am and no one wants to be there, the grounds are all wet and it’s cold and you know your teammates are all there and you’re laughing at 7am in the morning. That’s what I am going to miss, the team aspect and the friends I have made. Some of the closest friends I have made are from township and from running. If you are thinking about the winning standpoint, then winning the Shore Conference was also pretty cool. But above all ,the actual comradery is the reason why I love the sport so much.

How have you kept your love for running up after all these years?

– I’m not going to lie to you, it is starting to feel more like a job. So, I have to think to myself “how do I make this sport something that I really love and less like a job?”, and with the stresses of competing at a high level and looking to do it in college it is really hard. This can [happen] for anybody who wants these experiences. It’s really hard to have that balance of not making it feel like a job but in reality it is going to feel that way and I hope it goes away in college, but a way I kinda deal with that is by joking around and having fun in practice. It is running and it is kinda sucky but you just gotta make the most of it.

Patriot Press • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All Patriot Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.