Q&A: Dani Aragon
HOKA NJNYTC frosh, Dani Aragon, is off to a hot start this spring in her first year running pro. Dani graduated from the University of Notre Dame as a 4 x NCAA All-American. At the USATF Middle Distance Classic, she ran a 3 second PR in the 1500. Check out what she had to say about this race, her experiences with NJNYTC so far, and what teammates she trusts with the important stuff.
Q: You broke the 4:10 barrier for the first time and smashed your previous PR by 3 seconds at the USATF Distance Classic, was this a surprise? What were your expectations going into the race?
I think I knew it was possible to break 4:10 but I didn’t know if it would happen that day. I came into the race expecting it to be a quick pace so I just planned to hold on for as long as I could.
Q: You held the coveted position, sitting in second place for most of the race, what was going through your mind?
My plan was to stay calm and not waste energy early on. It worked out nicely that I ended up in position towards the front, so I just concentrated on running efficiently and being ready for the race to pick up in the final lap.
Q: NJNYTC had 2 other girls lining up with you, what was it like having your training partners in the race?
It was great having Nicole and Megan in the race. Being with teammates always makes racing more fun and less stressful. Nicole has a lot of experience in professional running, so she is very calm and collected. And Megan and I ran together all through college, so it was really special to line up in the same uniform.
Q: Your family has a pretty impressive running background. How excited were they after your race? And who was your first phone call?
They were very excited! My family has been there for all my highs and lows in the sport, so they understand what it means to have a race come together and see that time on the clock. I talked to Coach Gags first, I think he said something like “ATTA BABY!” and then I think I called my parents.
Q: Speaking of your family, your dad was a 3:51 miler and your sisters are both NCAA All-Americans. What was it like growing up? Did you always want to run track? Any family rivalries?
My sisters and I grew up sprinting around the neighborhood barefoot. I think since my parents were runners, we just expected ourselves to be runners too. My older sister started track in middle school and my little sister and I followed. As far as rivalries go, I’ll just say that I am undefeated in the family Easter Egg hunt.
Q: What's the best advice you have received from someone in your family?
In general, the best advice my dad gives me is to embrace each opportunity and enjoy what I’m doing. He reminds me that putting my heart into something and working to be my best is important, even if it’s just a small part of life.
Q: What's the transition to NJNYTC and running under Gags been like?
Fall training was a shock to the system, but Gags eased me into workouts. My teammates were great from day one and showed me that eventually you get used to the new level of training. Gags is great. He doesn’t complicate things and he knows exactly how to motivate.
Q: This is your first season as a pro and competing late into the summer. What are you most excited for?
I’m most excited for racing in Europe and exploring new places with my teammates.
Q: What upcoming races can we expect to see you in soon?
I’ll be racing the mile at Adrian Martinez and the 1500 at USAs.
From the NJNYTC squad (team only), name:
1. Who would you pick to survive on a deserted island with: Waverly Neer
2. Who would you trust to lead you through a run blindfolded: Kenyetta Iyevbele
3. Who would you pick to write your workouts: Anyone but Nicole Tully or Kyle Merber.
4. Who is your favorite Schappert sister? Neither.
5. Who is the most likely to win the lottery, but lose the ticket: Megan Mansy