Calm, cool, and collected: a recipe for success both in athletics and life. Junior WSU cross-country runner and management information systems major Andrew Kimpel fits the part.
Whether it’s listening to the soothing tunes of John Mayer or relaxing and watching football with his fellow teammates, the 20-year-old junior is as calm as they come, on and off the trail.
This attitude is what led Kimpel to unforeseen success. He is now running on the 20th ranked WSU men’s cross-country team and studying in the college of business.
“That’s how I’m successful – if I just keep my composure and not overreact or anything, I tend to perform better,” Kimpel said. “I always think about what the goal is, what I’m trying to accomplish, and visualize the race ahead of me.”
Kimpel is no stranger to success. Before coming to WSU, he led North Kitsap High School to three consecutive state championships along with a national championship. Kimpel is continuing that success WSU, where he hopes to crack the top 15 and attend nationals by the end of the season.
Despite his success, Kimpell did not find his niche as a runner until his freshman year of high school. He spent his childhood playing basketball instead.
“I grew up around basketball with my dad. Did hoopfest for seven years, played YMCA and AAU ball, but after a while, everyone kind of got bigger and stronger and I just stayed the same,” Kimpel said. “It wasn’t really a good positive experience like I had with running.”
Basketball did not fit the bill for Kimpel, who said he never played for a winning team or found acceptance like he did with running.
“At first, I used (cross-country) as conditioning for basketball,” Kimpel said. “My times were not outstanding, but I just felt accepted, which was pretty cool.”
It is no wonder Andrew ended up running cross-country at WSU. Both the school and the sport gave him something he cherishes: acceptance.
“My dad told me to choose the school that loves you the most and that’s what I got from here,” Kimpel said of his decision to attend WSU. “I felt accepted by this Cougar family. This is where I belong.”
Kimpel is able to stay calm and focused due to the overwhelming support of his parents. His dad, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, and his hard-working and supportive mom both find the time to make almost every meet Andrew races in.
Even though his father spends about two weeks a month on average away from home, he always tries to plan around the race. Most impressive to Andrew was the time his father found the time to attend his college debut race in Minnesotta.
“He’s always been there for every meet, and always tries to plan around my meets,” Kimpel said.
Even though it was tough growing up in a military family, Kimpel said it has shaped him into the organized, structured individual he is today.
One of the lessons Kimpel has taken from his father is that it’s always the little things that count and that’s what will contribute to success in the big picture.
“The little details will add up,” he said.
Whether it’s staying organized and studying in business school or keeping a steady, measured pace at a meet, Kimpel makes a point to excel at the little things in his life.