Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Catching up with Aptos HS runner, Nikki Hiltz...

Today we chat with Aptos HS runner, Nikki Hiltz (pictured to the left courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel).  Just like Woodside HS runner Chris Waschura, Nikki won both the 1600m. and 800m. at the CCS Championship meet at Gilroy HS.  She recorded a lifetime best time of 4:51.94 (reported last lap of 63 seconds) to win the 1600m. and break the school record of current Stanford University runner, Marissa Ferrante.  She followed up that victory with a 1st place finish in the 800m. running a lifetime best time of 2:12.65 and breaking her aunt's (Nancy Huyck) school record which was set in 1975.  At the state meet, Hiltz lowered her personal record in the 1600m. during the trials by running 4:48.20 and recording the fastest time in the trials.  The next day, Nikki set another pr and school record by finishing 3rd and running 4:43.43.

1) How did you get into cross country and track and field? When did you start?

I first got into running when I was about seven years old. In elementry school I ran with the Santa Cruz Track Club. I also ran in the junior guards program where I excelled in the distance running events.

2) What other sports do you currently play or have done in the past?

I have been playing soccer for about eleven years. Last year was my last season of soccer because I really wanted to focus on my running. I also surf and ski. 

3) Looking back at your brief high school career, what do you feel was the first race that gave you the confidence to run with the best runners in CCS?

I feel that last year's Top 8 meet was really my first chance at seeing my competion. As a freshman I won the race and this gave me the confidence I needed going into CCS finals.

4) You are now considered one of the top distance runners in the state. What do you feel has contributed to your improvement this year?

This year I did a lot of cross training where I really strengthened my core. I also started running in January so I came into the track season already conditioned. I also have the best coach in the county.

5) What were your personal records (prs) last year in track?

My last season PRs where 5:00.29 for the 1600m. And 2:16 for the 800m. 

6) What do you feel was your best race in cross country this past season? Highlights?

I feel my best race this past cross country season was CCS finals. Another highlight was getting 15th in state.

7) Who are your main racing rivals in your league and section and how have they inspired you to run faster?

Anna Maxwell is my biggest competion in our league. She definitely pushes me and I really enjoyed competing with her this past season. Anna is also my competion in CCS along with Allison Sturges of Mountain View. All three of us have similar running styles in that we all have strong kicks. It seems that everytime I race Allison we both get PRs. I think this is because we push each other well. 

8) Who is your coach and how has he helped you develop as a runner?

My coach is Dan Gruber. Gruber has trained me perfectly. I have never been injured from his training and I also seem to peak at the perfect time during all of my seasons. He is there when I need him to be and away when I need to focus. Right before I race Gruber will say all the right things to me and it works everytime. I love my coach and owe all of my success to him. 

9) Tell us a little about your state meet track experience this year. What were your goals going into the meet, some of your highlights, what did you learn from the two days of competition?

Going into the state meet this year, I really just tried to focus on making finals. I knew that the top three in each heat would automatically qualify so my goal was to get top three. After winning my heat and turning in the fastest qualifing time that was when I started to think I could actually win the race. When finals came I knew someone was going to take the race out fast. For the first three laps, I just tried my best to hang onto the leaders. On the last lap I tried to kick but I couldn't because I was already flying. After the race, I was a little disappointed that I didn't win. But I had so much to be proud of looking back.  I had gotten a 5 second PR in just 24 hours, I shaved a total of 17 seconds off my last year's time, I had gotten third in the state meet as a sophomore, I ran my heart out and gave it everything I had. After the race Scotty (the head track coach and former distance runner) told me the only way they could have beaten me was to do exactly what they did. Push the pace from start to finish. He also told me that whithin the past 25 years my time of 4:43.43 would have won the state meet 21 of the times. This was definitely a highlight for me.

10) What are some of your favorite runs and workouts that you did this past season? 

I run in Nisean Marks Park almost everyday. I really love running on all the different trails they have. The head track coach Scotty McConville is also a distance runner and we have similar running strides. It was always fun running track workouts with him. He really pushed me.

11) How many different events did you compete in this last season including relays?

I competed in multiple events this past season. I ran the anchor leg on our distance medley, 4x800, and our 4x400. I also ran the 800 and 1600. I even did some strange events such as the 4x100 and the 300 hurdles. I ran the third leg of our 4x100 in CCS trials because one of the girls was away. We didnt qualify for finals but it was still a fun experience. I ran the 300 hurdles in our league meet in order to score some extra points for our team. I got a time of 47.01 and Scotty told me it was a good time. 

12) Anything else you would like to add.

I love running!!

Thank you very much for your time Nikki!  AJC 


Andrew said...

just looking at the picture and what she did this season, you can tell this girl has guts. Can't wait to see what she can do these next two years.

mike said...

Her XC career to date:

Nikki Hiltz XC Career.

You can search the XCStats database by getting a free Guest Pass.

Mike Sherwood

Anonymous said...

wowwwww nice picture!!!

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