Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Profile: Oliver Wood

Age: 21  Hometown: Seattle, Wash.  Class: senior, junior standing. Sitting outside of the library with bare feet at 8:30 a.m., Wood munches on a carrot and  sips coffee from a homemade mug with a mountain scene glazed onto the side.

After joining cross country this year, you are one of the top men’s runners. Where have you been for two years?
[Big grin] I’ve been skiing! All the time. I took last semester off and lived in Idaho and skiied every day, and last year I was a part of the backcountry ski club. I came to Whitman to Nordic ski, and that turned into running in the summer and in the fall, and that’s kind of how I made the transition into cross country.

How’s the team?
It’s been really fun. There’s a really good community of runners that I hadn’t even known existed at Whitman. So it’s fun to tap into that.

What’s the European Challenge?
When I was sixteen, I did this bike trip with a group called Overland Summers, from Paris to Rome, which crossed over the Jura and over the Alps and down through Tuscany and into Rome. Then last summer I led a bike trip from Seattle to San Francisco, with twelve really amazing kids and a co-leader. I’m hoping to lead a bike trip across the country this year.

Wow…do you ever go home?
Three summers ago I led trips in North Carolina all summer with Overland Summers, backpacking: and then last summer I was living out of my car all summer and then flew back to Williamstown, then led this bike trip out here [in the Pacific NW], and then I flew to the Mojave to support another bike trip: it was kind of all over the place. I don’t go home much.

Post-graduation plans?
I want to get my teaching certificate, and teach at some sort of environmental outdoor ed-type semester program school, at least for a while. But I’d really like to apply for the Watson [Fellowship]. I’m really interested in how skiing in the United States has kind of become this elitist sport, but in the rest of the world it’s not necessarily that way. And so I want to go and find those pockets.

If you could be any Harry Potter character, which would you be?
[Laughs] Well…the easy answer would be to say Oliver Wood! But I always thought that Sirius Black was an interesting character  because he had been judged for being a Death Eater but he never was. So he had to get out of that, and live a life of secrecy. Plus he was best friends with James.  So yeah, Sirius Black for sure.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Just coffee so far. My house all gets together and makes coffee: a lot of it. This morning we all sat out in the backyard. We have a little fire pit, and we sat around that and talked about our days. Since our floors are really thin, when someone wakes up and starts walking everybody wakes up. So then they have to get up and come hang out!

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