Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Mt. SAC Reflections...

Today we hear from four more runners about their Mt. SAC experience: James Attarian of Dublin (winner of Boys Sweeps, Race #32 in 14:59), Laurynne Chetelat of Davis (3rd place in the Girls' Supersweep race #61 in 17:15), Jacque Taylor of Casa Grande (4th place, also in the Girls' Supersweep race #61, one second behind Chetelat at 17:16) and Garrett Rowe of Mountain View (winner of the Boys' Varsity Division II race #80 in 15:24).

1) Was this your first experience at Mt. SAC? If not, how many years have you attended the meet?
James Attarian:
This was my third time at Mt SAC. Sophomore year was my first year.
Laurynne Chetelat:
No, this was my second time racing at Mt.SAC.
Jacque Taylor: No, this is my third time at Mt. Sac. The first time was in 2005 when I was in eighth grade.
Garrett Rowe: This was the first time I have ever attended the Mt. SAC Invitational.

2) Transportation to the meet, drive or fly?
James Attarian:
We drove down to the meet. It was about a six hour drive.
Laurynne Chetelat:
I drove down with my team in two large buses which took about 9 hours total (including rest stops). It was fun, but somewhat tiring.
Jacque Taylor: I drove down with my family on Thursday night and rested on Friday.
Garrett Rowe: Our team decided to fly to the meet.

3) Best part of the Mt. SAC Invitational?
James Attarian:
Winning the race. I have always liked this course and have had good success on it.
Laurynne Chetelat:
The bus trip to and back from Mt.SAC is especially amusing because everyone is excited and sociable. Disneyland is awesome because we share unforgettable moments with our friends. However, the race itself is always an exciting challenge that once accomplished makes many runners (including myself) sigh with relief. The best part I believe is the bus trip because it allows me to talk with some other runners out of the 116 total on my team that I often don't find the time or the opportunity to get to know. Also, we get to watch a lot of movies and have great conversations with friends.
Jacque Taylor: I love the competition and it is the perfect meet to run against the best in the state.
Garrett Rowe: My favorite parts of the invitational were not only the great course and new competition , but the team bonding this meet encourages. I'm sure that everyone who went experienced heightened team spiriti, having had time to spend with coaches and teammates, which is very beneficial to overall morale and comradary.

4) Describe the course for runners who have never run on it.
James Attarian:
Winning the race. I have always liked this course and have had good success on it.
Laurynne Chetelat:
The first mile is quite flat and quick. It is followed by a steep stretch of switchbacks that span a distance of 400m. Next is a steep downhill of about 200m that become flat for a little as it leads into Poop-Out hill. Poop-Out hill is the steepest, and the shortest, of the three hills on the course. It also is followed by a steep and bumpy down hill that curves into a rolling flat stretch. Finally, one reaches reservoir hill - the last and most difficult hill due to the growing fatigue. This hill has the longest and steepest down hill that dangerously turns 90 degrees. Runners must be extra cautious here, but also unafraid to gain speed in order to pass competitors. this leads into the home stretch which runs alongside the start and pass the start line to take another 90 degree turn into the elevated finish.
Jacque Taylor: Dusty, flat and downhill with just the right amount of hills thrown in just for fun!
Garrett Rowe: For people who have not run at Mt. SAC yet, it is the perfect 5k cross country course. The first mile is flat and fast, and almost immediately after the mile marker the terrain morphs into a series of short, steep uphills and long downhills. I must admit that I was a bit intimidated by the hills at first, but they make for a more fun and interesting course.

5) What was your strategy before the race?
James Attarian:
The course has a fast first mile which is relatively flat. Then you hit the hills. The first hill is the switchbacks followed by a straight then poop out hill which is pretty steep. The last hill is reservoir hill then back down to the flats along the runway and then to the finish.
Laurynne Chetelat:
My strategy was to take the first mile quite fast and hang with the lead pack for the first switchbacks. After that I was planning to try and break away on the down hill or at the top of poop-out hill. From there I just wanted to maintain or enlarge any possible lead I had gained.
Jacque Taylor: I wanted to be in the top five and to improve my time from 2006. To do this I knew I had to be in contact with the front leaders by the first mile to be in position to move up the switch-backs and speed down the hills. Once that part of the course was behind me it was a matter of maintaining my position and challenging the course and myself. I met my goals for this race.
Garrett Rowe: Before the race I honestly had no strategy except to save energy for the hills, and since there were so many people I had never run with at this meet, I had no idea who to try and pace with.

6) Did you get to do any fun activities while down there?
James Attarian: It was fun to just hang out with my teammates at the hotel and restaurants.
Laurynne Chetelat:
Yes, our team went to Disneyland soon after the race until midnight! Jacque Taylor: We went shopping, that was fun. I also did homework, that wasn't as much fun.
Garrett Rowe:
Our team was at Mt. SAC for only a little over a day, so we didn’t have much time for anything except eating, sleeping, and running. The race was fun for all of us though, and it was well worth the trip to spend time with the great runners and coaches who were there. I would highly recommend this race for anyone considering becoming a high school runner or to anyone who is looking for a fun way to experience top notch cross country.

Thank you very much James, Laurynne, Jacque and Garett-AJC!

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