Spotlight: Tom Divinnie
Senior Tom Divinnie is one of the top runners for the Wake Forest cross country team. He hails from Brentwood, Tenn. In high school, Divinnie finished in the top 15 in the two-mile of the Nike Indoor Nationals.He also finished 12th at the 2005 Foot Locker South Regional Cross Country Championships, just two places out of qualifying for the Foot Locker Nationals. Divinnie attended Davidson College where he ran cross country during the 2007, 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Photo Courtesy of Media Relations Graphic by Bobby O’Connor/Old Gold & Black
In 2009, he finished one-spot shy of earning a place on the All-Southern Conference team at the Southern Conference Championships. Divinnie graduated Cum Laude from Davidson in 2009 and came to Wake Forest to pursue a masters in accountancy while also having an additional year of athletic eligibility. So far this season, Divinnie has led the men’s team in three of their four events. He came in second overall at the Charlotte Invitational and led the men’s team to a win over the other 22 competing schools.
When and why did you develop a passion for running?
I originally got into running in middle school when I tried out for the baseball team and got cut. I wanted to play a sport so I went out for track. I ended up finding out that I was pretty good at it and my success kept me in the sport. I continued to play soccer and tennis throughout middle school and early high school until I decided to dedicate my efforts towards running by my junior year. Then I went to Davidson and ran for four years and I decided that I didn’t want to give it up quite yet so I decided to do it here as well.
Why did you choose to come to Wake Forest?
I chose to come to Wake Forest because it has one of the best accounting programs in the country. It also happened to be a good fit athletically and I really wanted the opportunity to compete in the ACC so it has worked out well.
What did you take from your running at Davidson College?
At Davidson, I had a lot of injuries (four stress fractures over the course of four years), but I think I’ve finally learned the right balance of training intensity and volume to stay healthy and maximize my fitness. It took a lot of experimentation but I think I’ve figured it out.
How would you characterize your experience thus far in the ACC?
The competition in the ACC is stiff. Right now there are five teams ranked in the top 30 in the country. But, I think the higher level of competition has motivated me and helped me perform up to my true potential.
What are your personal and team goals for the rest of the season?
As a team we’d like to place in the top half of the conference at ACC Championships. Overall, I think our team is stronger and deeper than it has been in years past so we are looking forward to surprising some people by drastically improving on our past performances. Individually, I’d like to be all-ACC (top 14).
What makes the cross country team unique here at Wake Forest?
I think our team is unique in that we are bunch of guys who wouldn’t normally be friends if it weren’t for being on the same team. But despite our differences we make it work and I think our team culture is one of our biggest strengths.
What is the biggest challenge of your sport?
Staying healthy. Most guys on the team run between 70-90 miles per week and this type of volume takes a big toll on the body and it is easy to get injured. In this sport it is really important to allow your body to recover adequately in order to reap the benefits of the training.
What does training for cross country involve for you?
I run about 70 miles per week and also get in 2-3 hours of supplemental aerobic activity either in the pool, on the stationary bike, or on the elliptical. Plus we lift weights and do core work a few times per week. We do hard interval/tempo workouts twice per week, one continuous longer run that accounts for 20-25 percent of weekly mileage, and the rest of the mileage is just steady, easy running.
Do you have any superstitions or routines prior to a race?
I’m not too superstitious but I do have particular pre-race eating habits. I always eat a powerbar exactly an hour and 45 minutes before every race and drink a cup of coffee an hour before.
Who has had the biggest impact on you as a person and an athlete?
My parents have definitely had the biggest impact on me. Not only have they been great examples of the type of person I should strive to be, I think they have provided the optimum level of encouragement for me as an athlete. Growing up, they never forced me to participate in track/cross country or never pressured me to perform at a high level. Rather, they always let me do what I wanted to do and were supportive of it.
What has been your favorite moment so far in your career?
Last year at Davidson I earned all-conference honors in both the 3K and 5K at conference championships, both in personal best times. Either that or sinking a buzzer-beating game-winning jumper in my 5th grade YMCA basketball league championship game.
Do you have a particular athlete that you look up to or admire?
Chris Linske. A lot of people haven’t heard of him but he is the American record holder in the 5K and 10K.
Do you think that being a Division I athlete requires you to make a lot of social or personal sacrifices?
There are definitely sacrifices that have to be made as a Division I athlete. If we really want to perform up to our athletic potential, we have to live a little bit different of a lifestyle than the typical college student. That being said, I really enjoy being a student-athlete so I think the sacrifices that are required are definitely worth it.
What are you hoping to do after your time at Wake Forest?
I’m getting my masters in accountancy so initially I will go into public accounting right after I leave Wake Forest. But, I think having my CPA license will open a lot of doors in the business world so I am not sure what my long-term future will hold.