Cougar of the Week: Rhys Duquette

Cougar. Taken by Julia Schroeder
Photo courtesy of Julia Schroeder

Rhys Duquette (‘17) has had a great season thus far, finishing top seven for cross country in almost every meet of the season. Duquette is majoring in Biology, and hails from Holyoke, Mass. On Saturday, Duquette will be competing in the final meet of the season, where he and six others will be representing Clark at regionals.

Scarlet: How has your season been so far?

Duquette: Yeah for me personally, it’s been a great season compared to last year. I have been getting better each race, which is nice. I’ve been keeping my confidence up and I had a great summer running. Hopefully I end the season on a good note!

Scarlet: Did you do anything different in the off-season or during the season to improve your times?

Duquette:  I just stuck with my coach’s plan, and basically did whatever he told me to do. In the past I’ve tweaked a lot of his workouts and I found that I just do better when I listen to him.

Scarlet: What was your favorite meet of the season?

Duquette: Probably Franklin Park, where we had the NEWMAC race. I ran my smartest race ever, I went out really conservative and then just started killing it after the first mile. It was really nice.

Scarlet: What made that meet so special?

Duquette: I think it was our last race for a lot of guys on the team who aren’t moving on to the regional race next week, and everyone pretty much did great. There was nobody who was pretty down about their race, no one had a terrible race. As a group we ended on a really good note.

Scarlet: How do you feel about having Michael Newmark as your faculty representative?

Duquette: Mike’s a cool dude, he’s got our backs! The one thing I got out of him was if I ever need a meal he would hook me up.

Scarlet: By having a faculty representative, do you think the cross country team is being taken more seriously in the athletic community?

Duquette: Oh definitely, we are getting a little more outside attention and he really seems into it, which is really nice. Mike gives us great input on things like a coach.

Scarlet:  What made you get into cross country?

Duquette: I started running my freshman year of high school. My older brother ran it and I wanted to do it to stay in shape for basketball. After my freshman year, I had a really good coach who saw a lot of talent in me, so I stuck with it and here I am!

Scarlet: Do you have any hobbies or hidden talents?

Duquette: I just love hiking and being in the outdoors!

Scarlet:. What makes hiking so much fun?

Duquette: I don’t know, it’s just good to get away. Putting a lot of work just to get to the top to see this view of everything, it’s so peaceful!

Scarlet: What is it like having Kyle Sullivan (‘15) as an assistant coach coach after running with him for two years?

Duquette: It’s awesome because he really knows us. Half the team has already ran with him and the other half he’s getting to know.  It’s really nice to walk into the season and [have] someone you don’t have to get to know on the coaching staff. At the same time, he is taking this job very seriously, so that helps a lot too. I love it!

Scarlet: Down the road would you want to coach?

Duquette:  It’s definitely something I keep in the back of my head. I know a lot about the sport, and if I had the time and the opportunity I would love to take it.

Scarlet: The team has gotten a lot of first-years this year who seem like great assets, specifically Jonathan Gober, Isaac Stone, and Chris Najimy. How are they doing?

Duquette: Oh yeah they have a lot of potential in them I can already see it. But I think as freshmen, and I don’t want to say they are timid, but they don’t really know their spot on the team. Like they have more than what they are showing, so it’s going to be really interesting next year if they really use their full potential.

Scarlet: Tim Conley (‘16) is a very active member in the Clark community. Does he bring all that enthusiasm to cross country as the co-captain this year?

Duquette: Yeah, TC is very enthusiastic about cross country. After workouts and repeats he yells at us trying to get us pumped up and to keep going. Him and co-captain John Allard (‘16) play like opposite roles, which is sort of nice.

Scarlet: I know you and Sam Smith (‘17) are very good friends, what it’s like being on a team together?

Duquette: Sam has been my best friend since freshman year of college. We lived in the same hall and hit it off. I would say together we’re a good recipe for disaster, and the coach loves it and also hates it!

Scarlet: Do you and Sam ever get really competitive with each other?

Duquette: Oh yeah, we have a really good healthy running relationship. In the beginning of the season he came in and was in a little better shape than me. He was always taunting me, giving me good motivation to pick it up. And then after the first couple races I got the upper hand on him and so in workouts we are always giving each other a lot of crap. It’s fun and I love it.

Scarlet: What’s it like having your suite attend your meets?

Duquette: They are definitely my number one fans! I love them to death, they are really supportive. Even on my worst days they are telling me I did great. It’s also nice to come back and have a lot of support.


Thanks for the interview, Rhys!