Andrew Springer | Photo Courtesy of Georgetown Sports Information
June 27, 2014 10:39PM
By DOUG CHAMPION
Sun Staff Writer
WESTERLY — Andrew Springer is through running for Georgetown University. But he is not through running.
The Westerly High all-everything long-distance runner ran his final collegiate race at the NCAA championships earlier this month. By most standards, he had a superb running career for the Hoyas.
By Springer’s standards, some of his goals were not met. The famous lines of the poet Robert Frost apply: “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.” Running still is the driving force of Springer’s life.
“Georgetown definitely was a great experience,” Springer said. “I’m happy I came and really enjoyed it. I had some good races. I won some Big East outdoor titles and made All-American (second team) outdoors a few times.
“But I had some issues — things I would have liked to accomplish, but didn’t. I was hurt for indoors three years and that was frustrating. I would have liked to make All-American in cross country just once. I hoped to make first-team All-American in track. I never ran a four-minute mile. I wish I had run a little bit faster times.
“It went by fast. I’ve kind of grown up a little bit. I made some good friends and some good connections. I’m set up for any career. I feel like I’m ready to take on the world.”
Springer came to Georgetown on full scholarship the fall of 2009, after taking on and conquering the world of high school running while at Westerly High. In four years, he established numerous school and state records and won many awards at the state, regional and national levels. He did likewise in cross country his senior year, after excelling in soccer for three years.
The road in college was bumpier. He said the initial plan was to “redshirt” cross country his freshman year, but to run indoor and outdoor track. He developed tendonitis in his hip after only a few indoor races and wound up redshirting his entire freshman year — retaining four full years of eligibility.
Springer ran cross country only for his final two years and indoors for three, without any conference titles or national honors. He ran outdoors for the past four seasons and scored big the last two years.
“I trained mostly for the outdoor season at Georgetown. My goal really was to make the NCAA outdoor nationals. I had a near miss my third year (to qualify). I was really motivated it wouldn’t happen again. I qualified my next year (2013) in both the 5K and 10K and made All-American in each.
“My progression from shorter to longer races was somewhat deliberate. I was pretty sure I would not be a pure 1,500-runner. I was always geared toward the 5,000. I ended up running the 10K in the NCAA regional and qualified for the nationals. I always knew I would be running the 5,000. The 10K was more by chance.”
He won 2013 Big East outdoor titles in both the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter races. He went on to place 15th and 13th respectively in those events at the NCAA Division I championships to earn All-American second-team honors (the top eight make first team and the next eight second).
The fifth-year graduate student repeated this past spring as the Big East 10,000-meter outdoor champion. He again placed 13th at that distance at the NCAA nationals to earn another spot on the All-American second team.
Springer earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Georgetown a year ago. He entered a masters-level program in professional studies this past year while completing his final year of eligibility. Although completing about half of the requirements, he said he is not sure now if he will finish that on his own.
He said he still wants to keep racing a bit more and continues training with his Georgetown coach. There are not many track races at this time of year, so he plans to do some road racing, including the U.S.A. 10K road race championships in Atlanta this summer. He can make some prize money, now that he has graduated and is no longer running in college.
Springer said he is looking for a training group for next year. There are none in the D.C. area, but he has talked with a few groups in New York and Boston. He is communicating with coaches about their group and what they provide (like stipends for travel).
“I’d love to get picked up by a shoe company,” Springer said. “But I need to make a better name for myself. I hope to get connected with a training group. Sometimes a group as a whole can be affiliated with a shoe company.
“So that’s my goal for a while, at least for the next year or two. My driving force is running. My sights are on the 2016 Olympic trials. At least I’ll keep training.
“I want to keep my options open. I’m looking for a way to continue training and running. We’ll see what happens.”