The Santa Clara track season is beginning to feel like its in full swing. This weekend the Broncos will run at the UC Davis Open on Sat., March 12. Next weekend runners not still finishing final exams, which are next week, will run at the Hornet Invite Sat., March 19. Finally, a full compliment of Bronco runners will take to the track to run either at the San Francisco Distance Carnival March 25 and 26 with a select number of runners who qualify running at the Stanford Invitational the same dates.
Bronco head coach Felipe Montoro (FM) talked with www.SantaClaraBroncos.com on Thursday to talk about the early going, winter training and what the Broncos goals are this season.
SCU: How have things been going so far?
FM: We are building on each week. We will be more prepared this weekend. And the competition is a little bit better this week than it was last week. We've only had one race (last weekend) so it's not a whole lot to judge this season on so far. But so far, so good. I feel as though we are off to a really good start.
Our goals last weekend were to reintroduce the athletes into competing again and staying healthy since it's been a really long time since their last race. A lot of them ran a little over or under their normal distance.
Winter training was good, as healthy as we could hope for. Relatively high volume for those who could do it. So it was good.
SCU: Are you a young team this year on the track?
FM: I'd say it's mostly young. But there is Robbie who is a senior and has a lot of experience. But for the most part, especially on the women's side, we are pretty young. But the young people are ready to step up.
SCU: What about this weekend? Same type of training?
FM: This weekend will be similar. Some will run their main event. The first weekend that we really want to be running at our fastest will be the Stanford/SF weekend (March 25-26).
We won't have an organized practice for the first couple of days of Santa Clara's spring break (March 18-March 27) then we will get back to it on Wed., March 23. So they will have half of break to rest. For the most part they are healthy and pretty fit.
SCU: This year the NCAA has changed how teams qualify for the NCAA Regional (Eugene, Oregon in late May). Can you talk a little about that process?
FM: It's purely the top 48 on the descending order list. There are now only two regions: east and west. And they take the top 48 in each event. But a lot of times kids make it in numerous events or scratch from one of them. It's hard to know if you are in the top 50-55. The only way you know for sure that you made NCAA Regional meet is make the top 48 before the declarations (week before NCAA Regionals). There are now only two regions so it's very competitive. They do it by number of institutions and the East obviously has more schools so the West will now include teams like Arkansas and Oklahoma State (both top distance schools).
It's our goal for Robert Reid to make the NCAA Regional in the 1500m. We'll see how other athlete's will improve throughout the season and there's a few that might be realistic. Stephanie Wilson would have qualified for the 1500 but now we are just hoping she can compete in the end of the season due to the injuries she has suffered.
SCU: Talk about your training.
FM: The volume is still relatively high right now — it can be 90 miles a week for one kid, and for other it's around 50 miles. Usually the older kids run more. But it really depends on the athlete. Our cross training is pool workouts for the most part. We will probably start cutting that back within the next month. We did a lot of strength work for most of January and February and hills. And now we are transitioning to the track. We only work out twice a week on the track, one time in the morning and one time in the afternoon. So the other times we are doing distance runs. We are really lucky that we have good competition in the Bay Area so a lot of our meets are within a short driving distance.
Outdoors, many of the WCC conference teams will be competing on the same weekend that other Division I schools have their championships this year. Portland will host it. USF, SCU, Gonzaga, Portland and LMU will all have athletes. It's very exciting. When will you have to run your qualifying time by for regionals?
Priscilla Bayley and Chantelle Wilder have been great additions to the program as our new assistant coaches. And have brought a lot of new training ideas that have really helped. A lot of hurdle work for the steeplechasers; and a lot of core stuff. It's really helping us get better and the work is a lot more specialized. And they have brought our team to the 21st century with the Facebook and Twitter. Check us out on Twitter at SCXCTRACK