OFF TOPIC with Minnesota Track’s David Gierut

Mark Heise

As promised, here’s the second Off Topic of the week, and in the interview it sounds like it could be a good one! David Gierut and I talked about everything from a Secret Service investigation, to Poland, to Ballet, and you can get it all right here.

But first, here’s some information on David.

Name: David Gierut
Year: Red-shirt sophomore
Position: Polevaulter
Hair Color: Brown
Full Bio: Gophersports Bio


Mark Heise: David, just to start out ON topic before we, without a doubt, move away from it, let’s talk pole vauting. Specifically, let’s talk about the poles. Now I’ve always wondered why those things don’t break. Do they ever break?

David Gierut: Yeah, they do break. The poles have their own weight ratings on them. People over this weight aren’t able to vault on this pole… But some do break. I haven’t broken a pole yet so I’m pretty fortunate. I don’t want to break a pole. Some vaulters do, they think it’d be cool, but I’m kind of more of the cautious type.

MH: So it’d probably hurt?

DG: Oh yeah.

MH: Ok. One of the other things I’ve heard is that outside of track, you don’t have to do a lot of cooking for yourself, you get a lot of meals made for you… what’s that about?

DG: Well I’m fortunate to have a girlfriend who knows how to cook really well, and loves to do it, so she cooks for me probably 4-5 times a week for dinner, so that saves a lot of time for me, and I get good food.

MH: Favorite meal?

DG: Cannelloni.

MH: And what’s the trade off there? what do you have to do for these meals?

DG: She cooks, I do the dishes… and I’ll give foot rubs.

MH: And that’s a fair deal?

DG: Oh yeah.

MH: You aren’t watching the football game, you’re studying today. Studying comes first?

DG: Yeah, I have an organic chemistry test on Monday that I have to get ready for.

MH: What other things do you try to fit in to your life?

DG: Along with sports and academics… I try to have some personal time. Tonight, for instance, I’m going to the Ballet with my girlfriend.

MH: Are you excited about that?

DG: No, I’m not really excited or anything… I’ve never been to a Ballet, never even seen one, not even on TV. So I’m just going with the flow.

MH: I understand you do other things at the track besides just practice… You’ve developed some sort of golf-type game there? Could you explain that?

DG: The one with the football? No, I don’t want to explain that one, it’s a silly game.

MH: So the only golf you officially play involves…

DG: Clubs and a ball.

MH: Ok. Are you any good with that?

DG: Yeah. I’m a pretty avid golfer, I enjoy playing, I’d say my handicap is around 6.

MH: So you can hit a golf ball better than you can throw a football?

DG: Yeah. Not a baseball though. I’m awesome at throwing a baseball.

MH: Sure. But as long as you’re on that subject, you’ve recently been to your first Twins game ever, after living in Minnesota and not attending one throughout high school.

DG: Well I’ve never really been an avid baseball fan, but I went with some friends and I enjoyed it. It was fun. I went to two games, and the Twins won both games, so I imagine I have good luck. So if anybody wants to take me to more baseball games, I’d go.

MH: So you feel you are the reason they won both games?

DG: Precisely.

MH: I understand you’re fluent in Polish, your family is from Poland, and you grew up being bi-lingual. Talk a little bit about that.

DG: Polish is my first language. My entire family still lives in Poland so I go visit them once in a while, and keep up on my heritage. I’m actually taking a Polish class right now for school to polish up on my grammer.

MH: In kindergarten, you knew Polish better than English, correct?

DG: Yep. I didn’t know English until midway through kindergarten.

MH: Was that a little bit of a struggle early on?

DG: Well I don’t really remember, I mostly just remember playing with friends, and when you’re playing tag, you don’t really need to know English.

MH: You don’t need to know English for tag?

DG: No. You just tag them and run away.

MH: ok. I’ve used this next question already, but I didn’t get what I felt was an adequate response, so here we go again. When is the last time you’ve had a juice box?

DG: Um… the last time I had a juice box was May 13th, 1999. I was in fourth grade, and it was during lunch period.

MH: Are you making this up?

DG: No.

MH: You have that good of a memory…

DG: Yes. It was approximately 11:27 AM.

MH: And why did you get away from the juice boxes?

DG: They were too small, and not satisfying enough.

MH: If they came out in a 20 ounce juice box, would you buy it?

DG: 100% juice?

MH: Sure.

DG: Yeah, I’d buy that.

MH: Question of the year: One of the players on the Minnesota men’s basketball team, Travis Busch, and Zach Eisendrath from Gophersports have an online TV-blog called The What Else? Show where they sit online and just talk about things that they’ve seen recently or things they’re thinking of, and sometimes politics. The question is if you had a show like this, what would you call it, and what would it be about?

DG: Would it be with you?

MH: I’ve never been asked that before… I guess as long as this is a hypothetical and you don’t actually go make the show, it could be. But it doesn’t have to be, it can be entirely about you and your life. you don’t need a second person.

DG: I’d call it the Mark Heise show. And we would talk about current events, cultural topics, such as ballets, arts…

MH: So it would be like this interview.

DG: Yes.

MH: Ok, and you’re patterning it after The What Else? Show then? With a reporter and yourself?

DG: Yup. Preferrably Mark Heise as the reporter.

MH: I’m not sure if I can print that, (I did), but thanks. First guest on the show?

DG: I would choose Shannon Daggett with the women’s track and field team, she’s a 400, 600 and 800 meter runner, and we’d talk to her about culinary arts, and fashion.

MH: Strangest thing you’ve done in an elevator? People do weird things in elevators. The door closes, you’re by yourself, what do you do?

DG: I wait until the moment the elevator is about to stop, and then I jump up to see if I jump higher.

MH: Do you do this with other people in the elevator?

DG: No, that’s an alone-type thing.

MH: Have you ever been caught doing something stupid in an elevator, like when the doors open?

DG: Never. Well, actually yeah. I was going down, ready to exit and I was standing right in front of the elevator, about 3 inches from the door…

MH: Everyone does that at some time…

DG: Exactly. Well it opened and there was a person doing the same thing on the other side, and we startled each other, and almost ran into each other. It was embarassing.

MH: I understand you’ve had some strange things happen in your life… what’s one of the craziest things that have happened to you?

DG: The summer of the 2004 Election, Bush came to my hometown of Mankato…

MH: George W. Bush…

DG: Yes. He came and my brother, his friend and I decided to see if we could check him out. And the tickets were sold out at a quarry in Mankato, so we decided to try and sneak in.

MH: Always a great idea when the President comes to town…

DG: Of course. We knew the area pretty well… but there were police all over the place, blocking off the road, so we walked through the forest, and snuck past a few of them, and then we crossed the river because there were police on the bridge… so we go through the river, and we were right near the quarry. So we’re walking down and there’s a big drop, so we slide down this hill, and there’s a road that was full of police on horses, and they noticed us. They pull out their weapons, yell freeze don’t move, and there were people hiding in the bushes with dogs that came out, so we got arrested. And we were arrested for probably an hour, and the secret service guys flew over in a helicopter and talked to us, did background checks on us… they were asking us questions, "why were you there…"

MH: How did you answer that?

DG: We said we were mushroom picking… they didn’t believe us. But fortunately my brother knew one of the Secret Service people because he did a DARE program for one of them in high school. So he was able to talk the other guys into letting us go because he said we were good kids… that’s probably the craziest thing that’s happened to me.

MH: So there were no real consequences to this then?

DG: Nope.

MH: But you’re probably on some kind of watch list…

DG: Probably. Terrorist or something… yeah. I guess we were pretty fortunate the snipers didn’t shoot us or anything.

MH: Yeah, that probably would have hurt. Last few questions, would you like to nominate someone else for this process for next week, and do you have a question you’d like to hear them answer?

DG: It’d be cool to hear from Nedward Tavale from the football team or Travis Busch from the basketball team. I’d like to hear Travis talk a little more about that show you were talking about.

MH: Want to teach us some Polish today, maybe leave us with a Polish phrase, some advice?

DG: I can do that… Nie Ozywiaj Narkotyki! It means Don’t use drugs!

MH: David, thanks for sitting down with us today, it’s been fun.

DG: Yeah, thanks. So you really want to do this for the rest of your life, huh?


And the interview ends there. Thanks for reading, everyone, and don’t forget to comment!