Cross Country


Straight from the Lions Mouth with TJ Bocchino

TJ Bocchino (Toms River, NJ/Toms River East High School) is entering his junior year at The College of New Jersey and his third season on the men’s cross country team. He was the New Jersey Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year in 2007 and an all-conference and all-region performer in 2008.

Question: What type of preparation (i.e. food, music, rituals) do you go through before a meet?

TJ Bocchino: Before a meet I try to just eat what I normally eat; straying from your diet too much or trying to eat too healthy can come back to bite you during the race. As for music and getting "in the zone", I don't really have too much of a ritual. I'm not one to get extremely nervous before a big race, so if I'm not listening to some music, I'm usually joking around with the guys.

Q: What do you remember most about your first day at TCNJ? Looking back, what advice would you give yourself that day?

TJ: I don't really remember too much about it to be honest. I think I handled it well and all of the other freshmen and upperclassmen were real nice and helpful in getting me acclimated with my daily schedule. As for advice, I wouldn't have given myself any. I think there's something to be said for living and learning and navigating obstacles that come your way in life.

Q: Many athletes put their cleats, bat or ball away for periods of time during the off-season. Is there a time of year that you stop running?

TJ: There's probably a grand total of about three weeks off a year that I take: about a week and a half after cross country ends, and about a week and a half when spring track ends. And those three weeks feel like three days. But hey, if you want to be the best, you have to put in the work to get there.

Q: What did you for a job this past summer?

TJ: This summer I worked bussing tables in a seafood restaurant in Seaside, NJ. Now that I'm living off campus, I can use the extra money, so sacrificing some of the summer was worth it. I'd be bored sitting around the house all day anyway.

Q: If cable television was reduced to a plan that would only allow you to watch five channels, which channels would you order? Any reason …?

1. ESPN -- PTI is great, and SportsCenter is a necessity when I can't sleep at night
2. Showtime -- Weeds, Californication, Dexter... need I say more?
3. Discovery -- Lots of interesting programs, but Cash Cab is the best show on TV
4. FX -- I have no idea what they air besides It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but that's all I need
5. Comedy Central -- I love the Daily Show and the Colbert Report and stand-up is great

Q: If you were in front of an audience of women and had your choice of singing a song of choice or selecting a song and dancing to it solo, which would you choose and what song?

TJ: I would serenade the “heck” out of those ladies. And I would sing whatever they wanted to hear, of course.

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