This week on '20 Questions' we got the chance to learn more about junior Connor Danielson. He currently holds the fifth spot in the 3,000-meter and the 10th spot in the 5,000-meter in UND outdoor history.
20Q: How did you get started in track & field?
CD: I started running track my freshman year of high school. I’d been running cross country since 7th grade, but I played tennis during the spring prior to realizing that distance running might be my thing. I also played basketball throughout high school. I still like to go hit at the tennis courts on nice days, though.
20Q:In your own words, describe your event and what you love about it?
CD: I run events ranging from the mile to the 10,000 meters, but the 5,000 meters is probably my main event. It’s often a grueling affair that takes a big mental effort to push through. In other words, it kind of sucks. Yet, I love it because it rewards consistency and savvy racing. Also, there always seems to be a cool sense of respect among competitors who race each other. The 5k requires a tough mix of leg speed and stamina, and I thoroughly enjoy the challenge.
20Q:What is your goal for the season?
CD: This outdoor season I’d like to run 14:45 for 5,000 meters, although I hope to eventually challenge my good friend Nate Peterson’s record of 14:30. I don’t know whether I’ll run the 5k or 10k come conference time, but I’m looking to score points for the squad (top 8) at Big Sky outdoor in Sacramento.
20Q: What was the best advice ever given to you?
CD: 1) “Learn something about everything and everything about something.”
2) “Stay based.” ~ Lil B
20Q: Which athlete inspires you the most?
CD: At the moment, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is a quiet hard-worker who will do anything for his teammates. He plays passionately and does not take a play off. He’s been slept on for much of his career, yet he keeps improving and proving people wrong. Additionally, his fashion sense is totally unmatched.
20Q:What would you like to be remembered for?
CD: I’d hope to be remembered as someone who played a crucial role in a successful team. Whether it’s as a leader or an athlete, I want to see us collectively do some special things during our short time at UND. I try to be a good teammate as well as a friend, and if I can make any positive impacts on people at all, that is awesome. I also want to be remembered as a foosball legend.
20Q:What is your pre-competition ritual if you have one?
CD: I’ve never been one to have a strict ritual because tons of different factors can come into play on any given race day, but just before the gun every race, I kneel down and punch the track a few times. There isn’t a concrete purpose or reason, it just helps me to focus and lock in. Now that I think of it, I do listen to “Pipe It Up” by Migos two to six times during the warmup process.
20Q: What are your hobbies outside of athletics?
CD: Oh boy, the answer to this one would change on a weekly basis—it’s whatever holds my interest at the time. It ranges anywhere from building things to old computer games to mock investment portfolios to Netflix. The consistent ones, however, are golf, foosball, shooting hoops, reading, and watching Bo Burnham comedy.
20Q: Name one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
CD: I sometimes attempt to write poetry if I have nothing else to do.
20Q: The best part of being an athlete?
CD: My teammates and all the people I meet. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to spend my time around. I learn things every day and am constantly inspired by them. I’ve already made so many brilliant memories while at UND because of athletics. The opportunity to push the limits of my ability and to be a part of something bigger is something I’m grateful for, as well.
20Q: Which teammate inspires you the most and why?
CD: Drew Campbell because he is a great teammate and role model who has made himself into a very successful athlete during his time at UND, yet is an even better person. Drew knows what needs to be done to become a good runner and has backed it up, and he is probably the wisest person on the team outside of running.
20Q: What are three things on your bucket list?
CD:1) See Eminem in concert
2) Take a trip around the western U.S. or Europe with good friend
3) Do/create something that helps as many people as possible
20Q: If you could do any event in track & field, what would it be & why?
CD: I’m fairly certain I’m in the event group where I belong given my lankiness, but I suppose if I had more foot speed I’d like to try sprinting. Like the 100 and 200-meter. I’ll always be in awe of how fast sprinters are able to move themselves.
20Q: Who has made the biggest impact in your life?
CD: I can’t single out one person. So many people have shaped me into who I am today. That said, my parents, Brad and Michelle, are both fantastic people that I am glad to have as role models. Sometimes when I need motivation to work hard, I remind myself that they both worked full-time jobs and attained masters’ degrees simultaneously, all the while raising me in my early years. I don’t tell them “thank you” enough. Also, my younger brother Caleb is a very talented and smart individual who is ridiculously skilled in things I could only dream of. I am extremely fortunate for the people who have been around me my entire life. My cat Cheeto is a day one as well.
20Q: What is your goal after you graduate?
CD: I hope to end up in a cool city doing something I look forward to every day. I am majoring in Supply Chain Management and Economics, and currently I really like the idea of consulting in those respective areas. Working on different projects of importance seems cool. Hopefully, I continue to meet great people and can stay in touch with my friends. I really hope to get the opportunity to travel the globe as much as possible, too.
20Q: How would your teammates describe you?
CD: I think they would say I’m someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously and comes to practice with the same attitude each day. They’d maybe say that some of my jokes hit and plenty of others miss. I hope they see a persistent hard-worker who leads by example and is kind. But mainly, probably a goof that sometimes has an interesting take on things.
20Q: What is your favorite movie of all time? Why?
CD: Instead of one movie, I am going to mention a trilogy. The Dark Knight Trilogy is easily my favorite movie series I’ve seen. Even though it is a superhero story, the sense of realism and human nature is truly amazing. The production, plot, screen-writing, score—everything is almost flawless. RIP to Heath Ledger.
20Q: Which road-trip are you most looking forward to this season and why?
CD: I’m pumped for the outdoor conference trip to Sacramento. It’s well-known to be a fast track and conference is always the end-goal. Hopefully I can also make it out to Cali for some of the mid-season meets to try for a quick time. Any road trips with the squad are a great time, though.
20Q: What makes UND special to you?
CD: At UND there is always a sense of closeness—it feels like a family despite being a large public institution. I’ve made many close friends during my time, and I’m thankful for that. Almost everyone I’ve met has humility, integrity, and respect for others. There is lots of tradition at UND, and every day I feel a devotion to add on to that reputation, whether it’s through track or otherwise. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be at this point in my life.
20Q: What is the best thing about living where you do?
CD: Currently, I live with an awesome group of teammates off campus. We have some great friendly competition in several things like foosball (Scott Kvidera and I are currently tied at 52-52 in a two year-long series) and Super Smash Bros: Melee (I play as Jigglypuff and routinely get destroyed). Also, I come from Fergus Falls, MN, and I will forever be glad that I was able to spend my early years in lake country. There is nothing better than being on some random lake on a nice summer day.