1) What sports did you play before high school?
I played soccer for about five years before high school.
2) How did end up running cross country during your freshman year?
I didn't intend to run XC or track. I started out with soccer but got cut from the team and I really wanted to do a sport during the fall season so I thought XC may be interesting to try..my parents thought I was crazy!
3) What were some of your highlights during your freshman seasons in xc and track and field?
The highlight for XC season was placing 11th at SCL finals. My freshman year highlight for track was at the Big Cat Invite when I ran JV's for the 3200 and won beating a few of the varsity runners. Not too many highlights for freshman year because I played rec. soccer during the fall season during XC and also swam for the varsity swim team at our school during track season.
4) What about your sophomore season in both sports? Junior seasons?
Sophomore season, I started to get more into running so I dropped both soccer and swimming. The biggest highlight for me during Cross Country season was placing 4th at NCS and qualifying for state for the first time. During Track season, it was qualifying to MOC's for the first time and placing 2nd at SCLs for the 1600 behind Jacque Taylor and winning the 3200.
During my junior school year, I began thinking that if I were able to significantly reduce my times, I could possibly continue running in college. XC season highlights for me were placing 2nd at SCL finals and NCS and qualifying a second time for state and placing 19th in the division IV race. Track highlights were winning the 1600 and 3200 at the SCL finals and NCS Redwood and PRing in both of the events at MOC by five seconds each (5:07.29 and 11:12.83)!
5) Tell us a little about the El Molino team and who are your usual training partners?
The El Molino team is very small with only 22 runners, 6 of which are girls. Our team is however full of spirit! There are a couple of guys I can train with (Ben Schulz, Junior Vargas and David Thiessen) our number 1, 2, 3 runners. Some days though, I'll just run by myself and use my phone to pace myself or I'll train sometimes with my little brother Brady, who is a freshman who just joined the XC team:)
6) Describe this past summer's training and what you did differently from past summers? Mileage? Any workouts?
I trained way harder this past summer than the past few summers. During previous years, I just ran on the treadmill several times a week and would occasionally go out for a six mile run.. I don't think I did anything freshman year. This past summer, I bumped up the mileage to 7-8 miles per day to build a strong base and I learned how to do XC intervals. I also trained with the Piner XC team at Spring Lake and Annadel and the Maria Carrillo XC team, and went to both of their camps. I got to also go on my first 12 mile run ever at Carrillo's Lake Tahoe Camp which was an amazing accomplishment for me because I had never run more than 9 miles before that run.
7) What does a typical training week look like for you?
A typical week for us includes hill repeats on Mondays, 60 minute run on Tuesdays and league races on Wednesdays When we don't have a race, we usually do some sort of speed workout. Thursdays are a long run day and Fridays are usually a fartlek run at the park or if its the day before a meet, a short easy run. Saturdays are typically race days or another long run. I usually use Sundays for my day free of running or to go for a long bike ride.
8) Who is your coach and how has he or she helped you develop in the runner you are today?
Darryl Beardall was the coach for XC during my freshman and sophomore seasons. Cameron Potter was my track coach during my freshman year. Both were great coaches and I was sad when they both left. Heather Rosales began coaching us during my sophomore year in track and has been coaching us ever since! She used to coach at Ursuline and Montgomery in the 90's and just began coaching again. She is an inspirational coach, motivating all of us before each of our races.She tells me before each of my races, when I get worried and nervous, that I will race well because she has faith in me. She has also helped me gain more self confidence over the past few seasons, I don't think I could have progressed this far in running without her and I am going to miss her input and encouragement so much next year
9) A few favorites: XC invitational? XC course? Distance run? XC workout? Track workout? Track distance race? Opponent (s)? Team tradition?
My favorite XC Invitational is the Stanford Invitational. I love seeing schools from all over the area come to compete in this race and I love to see the college runners compete as well. My favorite course, by far, is the Spring Lake Course. Not only do I seem to PR by a minute or more each year on the course, it is also the prettiest! Favorite distance run is Spring Lake and Annadel Park. The trails are so much fun and I never get bored with them. My favorite XC workout is intervals. My favorite track workout is 400 repeats. My favorite track distance race is both the 1600 and 3200. Opponents, it's always fun to race against Lauren Kraus from Maria Carrillo,Amber Piersol from Windsor, Ashley Moffet from Casa Grande. They are all are really nice people to hang out with as well. Team traditions, coach, on hot and hard workout days, goes out and buys popsicles for the team:)
10) What races are you most looking forward to this season?
I am really looking foward to all of my races, but in particular the Stanford invite and SCL's and NCS finals. I'm going to be in the seeded race for the first time at Stanford and last year I placed 2nd in both SCL's and NCS finals so I would really like to place first this year and go out senior year on a really good and high note.
11) Looking back at your own running career, what advice would you give to a new runner with aspirations of competing at a high level?
For beginning runners, don't do too much too soon. As a freshman, work up the mileage and speed workouts gradually. You don't want to end up being injured your sophomore and junior years. Also have fun!
12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thanks for the interview, I've never done one of these before. Thanks so much for covering the local running scene in the area. You do a great awesome job!
Thank you very much for your time Nicole! AJC