Alumni Spotlight Series: Pirog conquering hurdles as a UTSA Roadrunner

 

Andrew Pirog, Reagan class of 2016, made an impact on the Rattler Track & Field team as Outstanding Runner and Most Valuable Player. He continued that success at UTSA competing in the 400M Hurdles, 4×400 and 4×100 relay teams, and majoring in Cybersecurity in one of the nation’s best programs. We had the opportunity to learn more about Andrew’s journey and what’s ahead for this accomplished student-athlete.

Q:  How did you get started in Track & Field at Reagan?
A:  My freshman year, I was set on playing soccer at Reagan, however, I was failing Spanish so I wasn’t able to try out. A friend, Hayden Siebens, talked me into trying out for track. I’m so glad I did because I ended up running track/hurdles all 4 years at Reagan. (Note: despite the trouble in Spanish, Andrew ended up graduating Reagan Summa Cum Laude).

Q: Who has been your inspiration?
A: I would have to give props to Reagan’s Coach Baskin. He was strict, but he kept me in check and encouraged me to work hard. Our entire team loved him. 

Q: What was your favorite memory from Reagan T&F?
A: Winning Districts my Junior year. We actually had an Instagram campaign #DoItForBaskin, which we did. Going to State my Senior year was also memorable. We had an awesome 4×4 team that finished 1st in Regionals to qualify.

Q: What was the biggest difference between running in HS versus for a DI program?
A: Going to UTSA, which had a power team of hurdlers (nicknamed “Hurdle U”), was humbling. I went from being the best on my HS team to being mentored by more amazing and experienced athletes. To help athletes transition to UTSA, my coach started a mentor/mentee program. I now have 3 athletes that I am mentoring.

Q: How did Covid-19 impact your Senior season?
A: Our spring season was cut short, which was disappointing. I was in the best shape of my career and was looking forward to a strong college finish. On the positive side, I now have an extra year of eligibility. I’m working on my MBA and will compete in outdoor season again this year.

Q:  You’ve performed well academically being named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll, UTSA Dean’s List, and Honor Roll. How did you balance school with your Track schedule?
A: Athletes get priority registration so I figured out what class times would work best for my training schedule. I spent alot of time planning and reviewing classes and professor’s ratings. During the season, we train for several hours Monday – Saturday, so I need a class schedule that worked well with my training/meet schedule.

Q: What have been some of your most memorable moments in UTSA T&F?
A: Making it to Regionals every year in the 400 Hurdles has been awesome. Also, my Junior year, the meet was in Sacramento and after we raced, we had the opportunity to visit Yosemite. It was amazing hiking through the waterfalls and then having a snowball fight at the top of a mountain in June!

Q: You’ve graduated with your degree in Cybersecurity. What are your plans now?
A: Since I have an extra year of eligibility, I’ll be running again for the Roadrunners while working on my MBA.

Q: What is your advice to Rattlers thinking about competing at the next level?
A: Your grades/GPA make a difference, so handle your business in the classroom. Strong academics can increase your scholarships. Also, don’t wait for colleges to approach you. Figure out which schools you like and e-mail the head coaches your grades and track times. If you love what you do, go after it!

Thank you Andrew for sharing your journey. We wish you the best in your MBA program and running another year for the Roadrunners!  To see more of Andrew’s highlights, CLICK HERE or go to GoUTSA.com for his complete UTSA Roadrunners Bio.

Photo courtesy of UTSA Athletics #BirdsUp