1) How did you get your start in running? What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field team?
I first started running cross country in middle school with a really small group of kids. We ran only about 6 miles a week but we had so much fun. I wanted to continue running once I got into high school. Before I became serious about running, I was heavy into dance for the better part of 10 years. I also played basketball for a couple of years but I was terrible at it. I actually first joined cross country to get in shape for basketball which I ended up quitting that same year.
2) What were some of your highlights during your freshman seasons in XC and Track?
During my freshman year, I won the frosh/soph league championships in both cross country and the 1600 during track. Our girls' team also won league championships for both XC and track. Another big highlight was getting to run at the Mt. SAC invitational. Coach DiMaggio only takes 7 girl and 7 guy athletes, so getting to go as a freshman felt like a huge privilege.
3) What was the first race in either cross country or track gave you the confidence that you could run with some of the best runners in CCS?
Last year, CCS trials for track was really my first wake up call. Going into the 800 trials, I didn’t know if I could qualify for the finals. Once I did, I don’t think I even knew what to do with myself. I was going to be racing girls I looked up to and fighting for a spot to the state meet. I was pretty overwhelmed, but it made me realize that I could compete with some of the best runners in CCS.
4) You dealt with an injury during your sophomore season in cross country. What was the injury and what did you learn from that experience?
Sophomore year during the height of cross country season I pinched the peroneal nerve in my right leg. I would try my hardest to run on it, but my leg had basically turned into a noodle. I had to rest for a good 2 months and did physical therapy to regain motor control. I have learned that pushing through work outs when you’re in pain isn’t the smartest thing to do. I’m no longer reluctant to take a couple days off if my body needs it.
5) What were your highlights during your sophomore seasons in cross country and track and field?
Sophomore cross country season I didn’t really have any standout races. During track season I broke my school’s 800m record (held by Sabrina Han), and making it to CCS finals in the 800m. was another highlight.
6) How do you feel your race last year at the CCS finals will help you this year?
Finals gave me a good feel of how fast I needed to go if I wanted to get myself into the state meet this year. From analyzing last year's race, I’ve been able to work on the things I did wrong.
7) Tell us a little about your coaches at Westmoor HS and how they have helped you develop as a person and runner.
The great thing about Coach DiMaggio is he gives his full attention to every single one of his athletes. He can pinpoint each person’s strengths, and always manages to form a competitive, well-rounded team. He, along with the rest of the coaches, are not only great trainers, but great friends to the athletes as well. Most of our coaches are former athletes of Coach DiMaggio, which I think says plenty about the wonderful dynamic he creates for the team. Personally, coach balances me out. I am always a bundle of nerves, and then he will come over to me and tell me how great I’m going to run. He always reminds me to have fun when I race.
8) Westmoor HS has a fairly new all-weather track after many, many years with a dirt track. Tell us a little what a difference that has made for the team and where did your team train as the track was being laid down?
Before getting our new track, putting on meets was a nightmare. Coach had to line the dirt track with chalk every week, and we had to hammer our starting blocks into the dirt. Schools would be afraid to hurdle on our track, so we would often win those races by default. The transition time from dirt to track was a rough one, but our team handled it like troopers. Preseason, we had to train on our school's parking lot. Our runners handled it just fine, but our field events were definitely set back because they couldn’t practice their events all of preseason. Everyone was super excited when it was finally finished. Even veterans from previous years would visit and take a couple laps around the new track.
9) What are your favorite cross country races/invitationals? Favorite track races? Favorite distance training runs? Favorite xc workouts? Favorite track workouts?
My favorite cross country course is hands down Crystal Springs. My favorite invitational for track is CCS Top 8 because I always get a big PR there. My favorite XC workouts include hill repeats. We have some of the best hills at Westmoor. My favorite track workout is 400m repeats.
10) What does a typical training week (Mon-Wed) look like for you during track season? What is the distance of your longest run? What did you do during the winter to prepare yourself for this track season?
Monday is usually our long run day where we go out for an hour. Tuesday is a track workout. We’ll do repeats that get faster and shorter in distance as the season progresses. Wednesday we do a tempo run off campus, and then the rest of the week is short, easy runs with a race day or two in between. My longest runs are 8, sometimes 10 miles. During the winter, I did a lot more long runs, and my track workouts were longer to build up stamina. I also tried to focus on core strengthening.
11) CCS has some of the best female distance runners in CA. Who are some of those runners that you have raced and how has that helped you improve as a runner yourself?
Lauren Croshaw is in the PALs too so I get to race her often. She definitely pushes me to get some good times, and I’ve learned to strategize for my races. I’ve also gotten to race Nikki Hilts a couple times this year during track. I love racing her because it’s a challenge, and she’s the perfect indicator for how much faster I need to go in order to keep up with the top girls in the state.
12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thanks for the interview!! I’m on cross country express all the time.
Thank you very much for your time Kylie! AJC