Why so serious?

Today, we begin a series of athlete interviews to reveal the personality behind the pads, and help you get to know your Lions in light blue. First up is Kyle Merber CC ’12, a middle distance runner for the Men’s Track & Field team hailing from Dix Hills, NY. Among his many accolades, Kyle is an Ivy League champion in the outdoor 1500m, outdoor 4x800m relay, indoor 3000m, and indoor distance medley relay, and helped lead the Cross Country team to an Ivy League Championship in 2009. He holds the school and Ivy League record in the indoor mile at 3:58.52 as only the second runner in Ivy League history to break four minutes. And, most recently, Kyle broke the school record in the 1500m run at the Standford Invitational with a time of 3:42.49—now he breaks a sweat with Bwog.

Explain your sport in thirty words or less.

Short-shorts. (Boom! Did it in two.)

Do you have any good luck charms or rituals you practice before your game/match/race/meet?

I don’t have much going on pre-race besides eating pretty bland foods that will be easy digest and difficult to throw up. And by some strange coincidence, the TV show, “Shark Tank,” always seems to be on right before races. I’d probably feel weird if I didn’t get to watch start-ups pitch their ideas to wealthy investors before having to step out on the track. Oh, and I also tie my shoes a thousand times over to make sure they’re evenly taut.

Describe your greatest sports moment, and then your most embarrassing.

The highlight of my career would definitely have been my first time under the 4-minute barrier. Compared to getting out leaned at the line in this year’s Ivy League XC Meet, only to collapse after narrowly missing the win, and then being sent to the hospital with hypothermia—that was a good day. It’s also pretty embarrassing that I missed all of my junior year because I stepped on a piece of glass while running (tore through the shoe).

How is life like your sport?

I don’t think runners have much to complain about. We get to run around central park, while talking to friends and having our picture taken by tourists who think a group of chicken-legged, shirtless men is a scene worth uploading to instagram. It’s competitive exercising.

What’s the best sex joke about/having to do with your sport?

“I’d let her mount my pole! [vault]”

Tell us about the worst sports metaphor you’ve heard from a coach.

Running a personal best is like a new girlfriend. You’re excited and you want to show her off.  But one week later, you’re already looking for the next one.

Can you describe the dynamic between the Men’s and Women’s teams? Do they get along? Is there a lot of intra-sport dating, if you will?

As training calls for, runners tend to be pretty low key during the season [in terms of night life]. So what generally happens is that all those pent-up hormones finally come out during the off-season and people really “connect” in EC during those occasional weeks outside of hibernation. The teams really bond, and get to know each other then. I’d say we have a good dynamic, but one that you’d need a novel to really capture its essence. Sometimes it’s the brother-sister, “we like to pick on each other” thing, and other times, it’s like “you-just-found-out-that-your-attractive-sister-was-actually-adopted-and-all-those-confusing-feelings-you-had-suddenly-make-sense.” #squashcourts