Monday, December 06, 2010

Catching up with College Park runner, Jeff Bickert

Today we chat with College Park HS senior, Jeff Bickert (photo to right courtesy of Doug Duran).  He just completed an outstanding season by finishing 13th at the Footlocker West Region meet, just missing the National Meet.  The week before, Bickert finished in 13th place in the brutal Division I race at the state meet running one of the fastest times for Northern California runners, 15:16.  At the NCS Division I race, Bickert finished in 1st place leading College Park to another state meet berth with their 2nd place finish.  As a sophomore and junior, Bickert led CP to two NCS team crowns (Division I in 2008 and Division II in 2009).

1) What sports did you play before and during high school?

I played baseball and soccer from about kindergarten up until about sixth grade. Unfortunately, it took me all those years to realize that I was only good at the running aspect of both those sports.

2) Who encouraged you to start running?
My dad first suggested the idea of running track back in sixth grade because I would come home from school and tell him about how I would beat the eighth graders when we ran the mile in Gym.

3) What was the first race you remember that gave you the confidence that you could hang with the top varsity runners?
The first time I realized I could hang with the varsity runners was probably at the Mariner Invite freshman year. It was my first varsity race because one of the older varsity guys got injured and I ended up getting third for the team.

4) What are some of your proudest achievements (team or individual) from the past four seasons in cross country?
My proudest achievements team-wise are definitely winning NCS both Sophomore and Junior year. Individually, my proudest race would probably be getting second in the Division 1 race at NCS sophomore year. I didn't know I had it in me.

5) What do you feel was your best race this past season?
I feel that my best race last season was at the Mt. Sac Invite. Not only did I get second and PR substantially, but I also conquered my fear of the that diabolical course.

6) What does a typical week look like for you during the season? How many workouts? How much mileage?
During the season, I usually did three hard workouts, two easy runs, and two long runs. About 45 miles per week.

7) When you were first starting out in the sport, what runners did you look up to and hoped to emulate (on the College Park team or other teams)?
I don't think I have every tried to emulate other runners. What other people do doesn't interest me much. But if I had to choose who I looked up to when I first started out then I would say I looked up to the '08 Varsity Boys from Campolindo. They had the team aspect of cross country on lock. It also didn't hurt that they were really good.

8) Why is College Park so successful from year to year? What are some of the traditions on the team that you feel are really important?
College Park is successful from year to year because our training schedule is framed by the Campolindo coach, Chuck Woolridge and is executed excellently by my coach, Tina Pennes. 

9) Favorite cross country course? Favorite cross country race? Favorite opponent? Favorite workout? Favorite run?
Favorite course is Mt. Sac. Favorite race is the state meet. Favorite opponent changes every year. This past year my favorite opponent was Ben Eversole from Castro Valley. Favorite workout is 1000m intervals. Favorite run is Bayview in the Oakland hills. 

10) Now that the season is over and you can turn your focus to track, what are the races you are most looking forward to in 2011? 
There aren't any specific races that I'm looking forward to this upcoming season. I'm just excited to run the 3200m this year because I feel I have a shot at my school's record of 9:18 which was set in 1976 by Kevin Searls who is a friend of mine.

11) How much will running influence what college you will attend next year?
Running will have some say in what college I choose but not too much.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thank you to everyone who supports cross country and good luck to all you athletes on your upcoming seasons.

Thank you very much for your time Jeff!  AJC

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