With the indoor season wrapping up across the country, Santa Clara will get a jump on its competition by competing Sat., March 1 at the Kim Duyst Invitational in Turlock, Calif. SantaClaraBroncos.com sat down with assistant coach Pete Cushman to talk about the opening meet of the year and expectations for the season.
SCU: This is your first meet of the year on the track. Will you be running everyone?
PC: Being an early season meet, we tend to be very cautious. Thinking big picture, sometimes it doesn't make sense to run a few people if they're dealing with a little issue. That's how we will approach this meet. Most people will run, but a few people might sit this one out for the betterment of the overall season.
SCU: In early track meets during the year - do you have the runners running different events or what they will run all year?
PC: Before each season we map out a plan with each student-athlete - all with a bigger picture in mind. The idea is to best prepare each person to run their best when we get into the heart of the season (April and May), and the steps to get there vary from runner to runner. Most people will be running their primary event, but it all depends on what will prepare the specific individual for the racing successfully later in the season.
SCU: There is rain in the forecast. Thoughts on how you will handle this?
PC: Everyone has to race in the same weather, so we see it as a non-factor, and are just happy to have an opportunity to race. Distance running is all about dealing with discomfort, so chances are, anyone bothered by rain probably would have shied away from the sport long ago. We'll need to make efforts to keep everyone dry while sitting around waiting for their events, but beyond that, it's no big deal. Back in Felipe's day (head coach), he used to have to run 20 miles in sideways rain just to get to school, and he liked it. He reminds everyone of this daily.
SCU: What are your goals during track season?
PC: The track season is all a process, so the goals will vary as we move through the year. The goal this time of year is to have a team full of healthy runners who are training consistently and getting better at running. We want to take advantage of the early races to get some solid marks and practice racing, and the fields in this first meet are perfect for that. Then, moving forward it's mostly about getting marks to get us into the best fields in the important races like Mt. Sac, SF State Distance Carnival, Stanford, and ultimately the post-season races. Mt. Sac and Payton Jordan (Stanford) are the best venues to achieve the NCAA first round marks, and we'd like to have as many student-athletes as possible qualifying for those races.