locker room: very Superstitious

Pregame rituals of UB’s student-athletes

an illustration of runner Miles Lewis at the starting blocks yawning

Illustration by Hal Mayforth

Miles Lewis

Miles Lewis

With a MAC championship to his credit, senior sprinter Miles Lewis is no sleeper pick to win a race—though his prerace ritual might make his competitors think otherwise.

Classical piano music still running through his head from his morning jog, Lewis steps up for his race, but before he casually settles into the starting blocks there’s one thing he must do: yawn.

It’s not that Lewis is bored. He actually doesn’t know where the urge comes from, and he doesn’t care. “This is just something I do,” says the 22-year-old senior from Coram, N.Y.

Run fast is something else he does, which you wouldn’t necessarily know from looking at him. At 5-foot-7, he stands a full head shorter than most of the sprinters lined up on either side of him.

“I used to be really intimidated by the guys next to me,” he admits. Now, thanks to his superlative record, and his unnerving pregame ritual, it’s more likely that they’re intimidated by him.