Monday, October 01, 2007

Catching up with Matt Duffy and Sarah Sumpter following Stanford Invitational

The division IV races at Stanford this year were won by two NCS athletes as Matt Duffy of St. Mary's, Berkeley and Sarah Sumpter of Healdsburg who both scored dominated victories. Here are how both runners felt about their efforts on Saturday. (Pictures below, courtesy of Margaret Gallagher.)

Here are Matt Duffy's race reflections.
What was
your strategy before the race?
Before the race I planned on going out with the main pack through at least the mile and then pull away if and when I felt comfortable.

Who did you think would be your biggest competitors?
I thought my biggest competitors would be Tyre Johnson from Palma HS because of his big win at the Earlybird invitational. Also, I was aware of Michael Landry of Santa Cruz who finished second at Stanford last year, but he did not race yesterday.

How did the race go for you?
I thought the race went okay. I didn't feel great but I am extremely happy that I was able to walk away with a win. I am also very proud of the way our team ran, winning the Stanford Invitational for the first time in school history.

What was your position during 1st mile? 2nd mile?
At the first mile I was probably in third place at about 4:57 and at two miles I was in the lead by forty meters or so.

Where did you make your move for the lead?
I took the lead around 2 kilometers into the race with a hard surge.

Does the Stanford course compare to any other course that you have run?
Time wise, not really since it is only my second 5k of the year but terrain wise it was similar to the Iolani meet in Hawaii since it was a flat grassy course, but the conditions at Stanford were much better.

Thank you Matt.

The following are Sarah Sumpter's answers describing her race.
Did you have a time goal for yourself going into the race?
To be honest, I didn't enter the race with any exact time in mind (other than breaking than my previous Standford time, 19:05). I simply wanted to get into the front pack and go for it.

What was your strategy for the race?
As simple as it may sound, all I wanted to do in this race was grab hold of the highest spot I could, let loose, and see were it took me. No fear, no hesitation, just grab the wheel and run like the course is on fire.

Did you have any idea who your competition would be in your race?
I expected that with such a wide range of runners from so many different regions, there was definitely going to be some significant competition. But I didn't have any specific girls or schools on the radar.

Describe your race. Did you take the lead right away? Do you remember
your splits?

The race started pretty similarly to the invitational last year: I sprinted as best as I could for about the first 100 meters and then ended up having to move outside the mid-front pack, charge down the side, and cut in to first sprinkling of runners. I remember taking the lead after the first 800 meters or so, though the only split I can recall throughout the course of the race was my 2-mile time (11:24) which my brother shouted out to me as I passed him.

Was the final time a surprise? Did you stick around to watch the seeded
and college races?

My time was't a huge shock, but it was very gratifying because, in a way, it validated all the work and dedication I've put into my training since my previous season.

Unfortunately, my team and I weren't able to see any of the later races due to a tight schedule and the long drive back to Healdsburg. Given the chance, however, I would have loved to watch them, especially the college athletes.

Describe your week leading up to Saturday's race?
Practice-wise, it was a pretty typical week -- alternating between hard speed, hill, and interval workouts and lighter, longer distance runs.

Where is your next race?
My next race is against the Sonoma cross-country team at their home course, October 10th. After that I'm looking forward to running at Mt. SAC on October 19th.

Thank you very much Sarah!

Check out the Norcal Rankings below which were posted yesterday. NCS rankings will be coming out on Wednesday. Last chance to vote on the poll to the right.

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