"My hair doesn't slow me down," Lower said.,”The hair. That's the first thing you notice when you meet freshman cross-country runner Mike Lower. Although he is listed at six feet tall, it is fairly obvious that the afro Lower's had since eighth grade adds a few inches to his height.
"My hair doesn't slow me down," Lower said. "I actually like running when my hair is long, even though it can occasionally be annoying, bouncing into my eyes. However, I don't really like to run in headbands for some reason."
Lower also said he uses his hair as an extra pocket.
"I like hiding money in there and then taking it out an hour later," he said. "Once, I forgot I had money in there and was greeted with a pleasant surprise."
Ironic, because Lower has been rich in the standings during his first year at Emerson.
Lower was recently named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Rookie of the Week. Aside from running, Lower has other hobbies and interests.
Lower's other passion is film, which is the reason he came to Emerson.
After working on film projects for the greater part of two years in high school and writing his own full-length screenplay, Lower said he realized he wanted to get the best film education possible.
"I knew [the Emerson film program] was very good," Lower said. "After I applied and visited, I knew this was where I wanted to go."
He has since joined the film groups Women in Motion and Frames Per Second in an attempt to further his film education and experience at Emerson.
Lower also spends a lot of his free time making films and writing screenplays.
"I'd love to become a screenwriter or director," Lower said.
If you don't see Lower working on a film project, you will most likely see him running because he finds tranquility in it.
"[Running has] a really great atmosphere to it both with friends and in your surroundings," Lower said. "Running has a smell and a feel to it. It's very relaxing."
Lower may find running soothing, but he also has competitive talent. At the Regis College Invitational, he finished second in the meet with an 8-kilometer time of 28:50. He had the best time on the team and finished higher than all other competitors in the GNAC. That mark was enough for Lower to earn GNAC Rookie of the Week honors on Oct. 3 and Oct. 31. He was later added to the GNAC All Conference team on Oct. 29.
"That was cool," he said of having his efforts recognized. "It was very unexpected, so it was awesome when I found out."
Lower, a two-time All-American, has been running cross country since his freshman year of high school in Orange County, CA. After two successful years of cross country, muscle strain and fatigue left Lower unable to compete in his junior year. The following year, Lower and his family moved to Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Lower attributes much of his success to his coaches at the Saratoga Springs High School, Art and Linda Kranick.
"They instill a lot of confidence in their runners and it's a very tight group," he said.
Through Lower's dedication to his craft as a runner and his talents for it, he has earned praise from his teammates at Emerson.
"Mike Lower is the best new talent to come into Emerson athletics this year and his potential is limitless," said cross country Co-Captain Nate Larkin-Connolly. "He is a great new addition to the team and a great new friend."
Patrick Keyes, a sophomore film major on the team, also had positive things to say about the freshman runner and his personality.
"I cannot say enough good things about Mike," Keyes said. "He is so mellow, and very humble. You'll never hear him brag about how good he is. He's always at practice, and he and [junior Co-Captain] John Weselcouch do extra sprints on hills after a workout. He is going to do great things in the future."