Senior Chris Yanichko became the second FSC men’s cross country and track runner to receive Academic All-American honors. He is the fourth student-athlete this year to be chosen for the award.

Yanichko was named Third-Team Division II Academic All-American on June 26. He has been balancing running, academics, and his social life for the past three years.

“The hard part is behind me with difficult classes, so this year should be easier,” Yanichko said. “I’ve done it for three years. I can do it for one more.”

Yanichko earned the honor with a 3.94 cumulative GPA studying biochemistry and molecular biology.

The top runner plans to attend The Morsani College of Medicine at USF to further his education and pursue a career in orthopedic surgery.

He is interested in treating orthopedic sports injuries.

As for athletics, Yanichko was the Mocs top finisher in four of the six team meets he ran in the 2012-2013 cross country season.

He was also the top finisher in track at the 10K Disney Invitational, and the 3,000 meters USF Open Invitational.

Yanichko continued excelling in running by breaking an FSC school record on the 4-x-800 meter relay team at the UT Ryan McCall Invitational with a finish of 7:59.64.

Originally from Grove City, Ohio, Yanichko stayed in Sarasota this past summer with teammate and close friend, David Tomchinsky.

To avoid burning out, Yanichko says the two focused on base training, leaving speed work for team practice.

“We’ve been working together. We always look out for each other with races and practice,” Yanichko said. “Having someone to work with really helps.”

Yanichko worked with assistant coach Rebecca Wroten at her fitness facility, Haka Fitness, to learn more about personal training.

“He is a great athlete. He has a lot of heart, he works really hard,” Wroten said. “Chris doesn’t require a lot of prodding. He goes out and he does what he has to do.”

Yanichko tries to remain motivated and engaged with his team and coaches.

“He’s not [too] shy to ask questions, and I really respect that,” Wrotten said. “It keeps a really good line of communication open between the coach and the athlete.”

Runners must have a good balance of mental and physical aspects to remain focused and energetic.

“You have to live like a clock,” Yanichko said. “You have to stick to it. If there’s a time you wake up, you have to do that every day. It has to be a routine you have down to the t. If it goes unbalanced, then you get stressed out.”

Head coach Ben Martucci praises him for his leadership and time management. He says he will be sad to see Yanichko leave when the runner graduates, but he hopes remaining runners demonstrate a similar sense of direction and respect.

“Even coaches look up to a specific individual. I can rely on Chris, and he’s a perfect leader. I tell him all the time that, even in his running, it’s a form of great leadership,” Martucci said. “The academic side is almost something that can’t be taught, and he is on the right track. He’s got a lot going for him. I want my team to follow in his footsteps with the leadership and development that he has.”

He is going into his final season with much optimism.

“Life takes a pause around you, and you just focus on the miles,” Yanichko said. “This season is all about redemption, and making it to Nationals. I think we can die happy if we make it.”