Jannik Windelband talks about his experience at Point Park and his voyage to the United States

Written By Antonio Rossetti, Co-Sports Editor

Freshman Jannik Windelband was racing in a highly contested 4×800 meter relay. He had just finished with the fastest mile time at the River
States Conference (RSC) Championship meet, but he knew that his work wasn’t done. His legs were tired, but he kept running anyway because he knew that the team needed his effort to win.

“I want to get all the points possible for the team, especially because at that moment, we were just not sure we will win it and I want to get every single point,” said Windelband.

Windelband has already won gold in two events and was a key contributor to the Pioneers RSC championship win. Nevertheless, much has occurred leading up to his success with the green and gold.

Windelband made the move from Rechberghausen, Germany to Pittsburgh in August of 2021. There were schools that the freshman runner was looking at attending, but Point Park University and its opportunities caught his eye.

“Point Park was my first choice because of the track and cross country team. I talked to Jim Spisak, who was the former head coach of the Point Park track and field and cross country team,” said Windebland. “He was just telling me about all the training, and I really liked that. I also talked to John Ziegler prior to coming here, and he just gave me a really good impression on Point Park. I’m really glad I decided to come to Pittsburgh. It is a great city.”

Windelband said the hills in Pittsburgh make for great practice, and that the area is ideal for training. He also mentioned he thinks that the scenery and view in Pittsburgh is remarkable. Nonetheless, the move from Germany to the United States presented a few challenges.

“It took a couple of weeks to settle in and to get used to all the things because even though it’s not that different from Germany,” he said. “I would say here, there are definitely large differences.”

The main change was the difference in language. He also had to get used to some cultural aspects, including small talk in Pittsburgh and visual differences such as road signs.

Despite the challenges, he finally adjusted to Pittsburgh, and it was time for the cross country season. American cross country, which is not exactly the same as in Germany, presented another obstacle that Windelband had to become used to.

“Cross country was tough for me due to the length. An 8k, about five miles, is pretty long, especially compared to what I used to race in cross country in Germany, which is only about two miles, maybe three at the most,” Windelband said. “That was a new thing I really had to overcome and it was tough, but I think we did a pretty good job overcoming it and preparing for the indoor season.”

In Germany, the practices are higher intensity and lower distances. They also do not run six days a week compared to the practices in the states due to the high intensity. America’s cross country style took him a few meets to get used to, but he has ultimately met the challenge head on.

Windelband finished in the top 7 in each meet he ran in and had finished first for the team at the Carnegie Mellon Invitational. This performance earned him 31st out of all runners. At the RSC Cross Country Championship, he finished 24th overall and 3rd for the green and gold. The Pioneers fell short by less than 10 points despite the performance of the team and Windelband.

The team rebounded in the indoor track and field season. Both the men and the women’s track and field team finished first in the RSC championship. The men’s team tallied a staggering 242 points, leaving behind the second place team by 117 points. The Pioneers broke the all-time RSC meet record, breaking the original record by 36 points.
Windelband came first in the 1-mile run (4:37.25), and he attributes a lot of his success to team captain and junior runner John Ziegler.

“He has been very important, especially as a captain, motivating you and keeping you on track,” said Windelband. “He’ll say ‘come on, guys, we’ve gone during workouts’ and will remind us of those things. He plays a big role in our achievements as a team.”

The team also had much success as a team. Windelband achieved gold in the 4×800 meter relay alongside freshman Isaiah White, freshman Ramiro Ulunque, and senior Doug Kostelansky. Windelband enjoyed running with Kostelansky and the other freshmen. He also gives his team credit for pushing him and giving him more strength and endurance. Running the 4×800 with his teammates took the pressure off of him because he knew that they too are also strong runners. He said he believes they had a very productive day at the indoor conference championship.

“I want to give the team as much as possible for my strength, and I think we did a really good job altogether as freshmen, including myself with getting the points at the Indoor Championships,” Windelband said. “We needed to help the team, and that’s what we did.”
Windelband said he is grateful to t coach Tim Creamer and his staff.

“It was tough to adjust to the change in training, running more miles and that kind of stuff,” said Windelband. “My body needed some time to adjust to that, but now I think my body has adjusted really well to that and the coaches did a really good job doing that. I think that the coaches pushing us over and over again is really a big point of success.”

Windelband said he is excited for the outdoor track season and is confident that the team will continue their perseverance for years to come.

“I think there’s a lot to come, especially for our outdoor season. We have a great team,” Windelband said. “We have a great shot of winning conference championships outdoors again and also for the next couple of years we’re really well prepared. I would say with the freshmen we have, maybe even with new recruits coming in, we know we are in a really good position.”