Maybe it's because of his wrestling background.
Maybe it's because of the hands-on landscaping business he launched with a friend four years ago.
It also might be just the way that Patrick Anderson runs ... and wins.
The Mount Lebanon senior's no-nonsense, workmanlike style that ignites with the starter's gun caught the eye of a number of major college programs during the past year. Just days after wrapping up his official visits, Anderson gave his verbal commitment Tuesday evening to the University of North Carolina and new head coach Chris Miltenberg.
"One of the biggest things is the coaching staff," Anderson said of why he committed to UNC. "Coach Miltenberg and Coach (Dylan) Sorensen are some of the best guys in the country.
"They are coming off great years at Stanford. What's exciting about UNC is it's their first year there. It's the start and they're building a program. I think it's real exciting to be a part of that."
Veteran Mount Lebanon coach Mike Agostinella pointed to Anderson's unique approach to a race that has enabled him to succeed at the highest level.
"So many prepare to run against the watch; he prepares to run against people," Agostinella said. "He prepares a lot like a boxer, a wrestler and a track field person."
Anderson, who plans to major in pre-medicine or environmental sciences at UNC, believes he is equally adept at racing the field or the clock.
"I think my competitiveness is one of my biggest strengths, but I think I can go out on my own and fight the clock," he said. "It can be hard to go out on your own (against the clock) but there's not as much pressure there as when there's another guy. That's when it really shows what you can do."
Anderson won the 2018 PIAA Class AAA last year as a junior, covering a wet Hershey course in 16:03 to beat out WPIAL rivals Zach Kinne and Dan McGoey of North Allegheny. Anderson then placed sixth in an XC 5K PR of 15:38 at Foot Locker Northeast, which qualified him for Foot Locker Nationals where he placed 29th in the country.
When asked to select the most memorable race that Anderson has run thus far, Agostinella looked to the future. He said Anderson's efforts in the "championship season" in 2018 that included the state title and a trip to San Diego for nationals could be indicative of similar performances this fall.
That year he was also voted XC Boys' Athlete of the Year by the PTFCA and Pennsylvania Gatorade Boys' Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
On the track, Anderson has track personal bests of 4:13.47 for 1,600 meters and 9:25.50 for 3,200 meters. He placed sixth at the state meet in the 1,600 meters as a sophomore and fourth last spring as a junior in the 1,600 where he ran his current PR.
He's had a strong start to his senior season of cross country. He's registered three wins in three invitational appearances, scoring wins at the Marty Uher Invitational, the Red, White & Blue Classic, and the PIAA Foundation Invitational. He sits at No. 1 in the PA state rankings to open up the month of October
A trip to Chapel Hill last weekend wrapped up five official visits for Anderson, who also took officials to ACC rivals Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia, and Mid-American stalwart Miami of Ohio.
"I think I've surprised myself a lot," he said of his achievements in track and cross country. "I definitely had long-term goals from the start, but if you would have told me four or five year ago (about what has happened) I definitely would not have believed that. It definitely has been fun the whole time."