Friday, August 23, 2013

Catching up with Scotts Valley HS senior runner, Scott Edwards...

Today we chat with Scotts Valley HS senior, Scott Edwards (pictured on the left courtesy of the Santa Cruz Sentinel at this past season's CCS Top 8 Meet).  He had a terrific junior cross country season which culminated with him finishing 5th in the Division IV race at the CA state meet after finishing 5th at the CCS meet.  On the track, Scott made a real statement when he won the CCS Top 8 meet over Yohaness Estifanos in the 1600m. with a new lifetime best time by 8 seconds in 4:18.47.  He finished 2nd at the CCS meet in another PR of 4:14.99.  Scott continued his impressive season by qualifying to the state final in 4:13.42 and then finished 7th in the final with yet another PR of 4:12.55.  

1) How did you get your start in running?
I had always enjoyed running when I was a kid growing up, but I had always played soccer. In seventh grade I ran cross country as well as played soccer, but I wanted to continue playing soccer. It was not until freshman year when my older brother, Tyler the cross country captain, convinced me to run did I consider XC. Once I started high school cross country there was no going back.

2) What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
I played soccer since I was five, as well as playing basketball, and baseball during little league. In middle school I gave up other recreational sports to play soccer for my club team as well as one season of school volleyball. I continued to play soccer in high school but trying to run competitively and play varsity and club soccer was too much. I quit soccer altogether after freshman year and decided to focus on running.

3) Highlights in both sports during your freshman and sophomore seasons?
The highlight of my freshman cross country season was defiantly the SCCAL league meet. Through the season I had always been chasing my older brother trying to beat him. It was not until the league meet when I came close. At Pinto Lake he placed fourth and I placed fifth in 17:00 and 17:01 respectively. Moving into track the highlight was also the league track meet. My coach wanted to win the Frosh-soph division so he kept me in the frosh-soph races. I ran the 3200, 1600, 800, 4x400 in 10:42, 4:52, and 2:11 placing first in all of the events. For my sophomore year the highlight of my xc season was the trip to the state meet as an individual. In track my best moment was running pr of 1:58.10 at the league meet and qualifying for CCS.

4) Did you do anything different during the summer before this past cross country season? Where do you feel you made your breakthrough to the next level of competition?
Leading up to the cross country season I did not really change up any of my training. I kept running six days a week with light to moderate mileage over the summer and during the off season in the winter. Where I think my breakthrough came was just uninterrupted training over the past few years. No one season or off season made the breakthrough happen, I have just put in the time.

5) Proudest accomplishments during your junior cross country season?
My proudest accomplishment was the state meet. Leading up to the meet I had a few disappointing races making me worried about the state meet. Despite that, the state meet was the best race of my season by far. I placed 5th in D IV with a time of 15:45.

6) You had some struggles during the early part of this track season. What led to those struggles and how did you turn your season around?
This track season started off with two large personal records in the 1600 and 3000. After that I had some difficulties progressively running slower times. The worst part of the season came at the Stanford meet. I was coming down with something and not feeling 100%. This caused me to run my slowest time in the 3000 and mile to date. As to what turned my season around, I do not know. At every race I just kept trying to improve my times, but it was not until CCS top 8 meet that I pr’ed.

7) What was the plan going into the CCS top 8 meet and what was your reaction to winning that 1600m.?
Going into top 8 I was just hoping to turn my season around. I was seeded 12th and had a goal of placing 5th or 6th by running between 4:20 and 4:23, a 3-6 second pr. The plan was to hold onto the middle pack and trying to kick and move up at the end. To my surprise I was less than a second or two behind the leader with 500m left. I took the chance and made my move and kicked. I was in disbelief that I ended up finishing first with a pr of eight seconds, running a 4:18. That race for me was the first time I realized that I had the ability to keep improving and be competitive with harder competition

8) The competition in CCS this year was as tough as I have seen it in a long time. What was the plan going into the semis and finals?
My plan for the semis of CCS was to run just fast enough to safely qualify for the finals. To do that I planned on pacing with the pack and using my closing speed to ensure that I qualified. That went as planned and I used the same plan for the finals. I wanted to stay with the pack until there is 400m left and kick it in. By following this plan I was able to finish second and qualify for the state meet

9) Tell us a little about your state meet experience and describe both races. What did you learn from your state meet final race?
Going to the state meet for me had been my goal all season and now that I had made it I was content with however it went. That being said I still wanted to do the best I could. Going into the prelims I personally did not have high hopes of making it to the next day, but the plan was to kick my way into the finals. I had been worried because of the heat but told myself to just go out there and act like this is any other race. With that in mind I was able to run a new pr and qualify for the finals. The final was somewhere I didn’t think I was going to be, but I embraced the opportunity. The pace for the two state races was faster than I had gone out ever for a mile but I assumed that was going to be the case. Holding on and kicking was my plan and in the finals, and that was working for me 800 into the race. With just over a lap and a half to go the leaders took off pulling everyone with them. I quickly fell to last place exhausted. The last lap came around so I gave every last bit into my kick. I was able to pull back into seventh place in a time of 4:12.55.

10) Tell us a little about your coach and how he has helped you develop into the runner you are today.
My coach, Doug Chase, has been in coaching for forty years. He coached for thirty years in Illinois and retired to Santa Cruz. With his love for the sport he couldn’t stay retired long and started to coach at Scotts Valley. Much of my love for running has been instilled from him and his coaching. From the day I first came to practice he took a personal interest in every runner. He trains us to our own personal limits, but always knows how to inspire us to break those confinements when it counts. He helped get me where I am now, and will continue to motivate me throughout my college career.

11) Favorite track distance? Favorite track workout? Favorite long run? Favorite track invitational? Favorite XC invite? Favorite XC course? Favorite opponent(s)?
My favorite distance in track has changed year to year. This year it was the mile, but last it was the 800m. That being said I do not think I have picked my favorite quite yet. As track workouts go, my favorite has to be either 400m or 800m, while for long runs I love any run in Nisene Marks or Henry Cowell. My favorite invite has to be the state cross country meet just because of the memories and experiences made with the team. As for my opponents, I respect each and every one of them but do not really have one rival or favorite opponent.

12) What does a typical week look like for you during track season from Monday through Saturday? Typical long run distance? Pace of easy runs?
A typical week of training really depends on what races are coming up. Starting from the beginning of the week, we usually do a workout on either Monday or Tuesday depending on if there is a Thursday meet. A distance run during the season usually is anywhere from 45-60 minutes long at talking pace. We will do a pre-meet the day before a race and do a recovery day after races and hard workouts. Most of the training depends on what races are being run what days.

13) What do you feel have been the workouts that have been the biggest contributors for your success this past track season?
I am a big believer that no one or two workouts make you a better runner, and that it is about the consistent training. That being said, my best workouts this past season have to be a four mile threshold run in Nisene marks, or 400m threshold work.

14) What advice would you give for a rising freshman/sophomore who aspires to compete at either the state xc or track and field meets?
I would tell them that so long as you put in the time it can be done. I was an alright runner as a freshman and sophomore but it wasn’t until junior year that I really shined. The biggest part is to train during the off season. What made the difference for me was I came to love running and everything that comes with it.

Thank you very much for your time Scott!  AJC

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