Oct. 18, 2006
After just two months at Santa Clara, freshman Annie Murphy-Hagan has left her mark on the race course. With a 9th place finish at the San Francisco Invitational, 44th at Sundodger, 16th at Notre Dame and her season-best 7th place finish at the Santa Clara Invitational, Annie has made quite a name for herself in the WCC. Following Saturday's spectacular finish, we sat down with Annie to talk about her experiences at Santa Clara this far.
SantaClaraBroncos.com: Before we talk about Saturday's race, which was phenomenal by the way, you've been here at Santa Clara for about two months now. Tell us about your freshman experience so far.
Annie Murphy-Hagan: I think Santa Clara has been a perfect way for me to adapt to college. The team is great. It has a family feel to it. I love the campus and I love the academics here, so I am really happy with my decision to come to Santa Clara.
SC: Homesick at all?
Annie: Not yet...That will probably break my parent's heart, but I've been doing all right.
SC: Tell us about your experiences on the cross country team.
Annie: The team is a really motivated and supportive group and I really picked up on that when I came on my recruiting trip last year. I just knew it was something I wanted to be a part of and I haven't been disappointed at all. Preseason started Aug. 23, so I was here for a month before school started, getting to know the campus and the team, and practicing and adjusting to collegiate training.
SC: Now we want to hear about your fabulous performance this weekend at the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational.
Annie: I'm incredibly pleased with it. Running has so many ups and downs, and when you hit those ups, it really makes all of the physical therapy and time and training worth it. I'm really grateful I was able to break 18 minutes, but more than anything else now I want see if I can do it again - it's kind of the addictive cycle of being a runner. I'm sad that Shannon and Lauren weren't up with me in the race, but I'm sure that if they had been able to they would have been with me every step of the way.
We practice at Baylands once a week and we do our hard tempo runs there. That was really helpful because we had been doing our hard workouts there all along. Normally our hard workouts are longer, and we're going like four miles or even more than four miles, so when we got to the race it seemed a lot easier because we were going for a shorter distance. I told myself I was running two miles instead of three because I knew that once I got to the two mile mark, if I was running well at that point I wasn't going to let the last mile get away from me.
SC: Do you realize that you are the only one on your team to break 18 minutes this year? You're a legend!
Annie: I couldn't be happier with how I am running right now. I feel like I trained really hard this summer, and I have a lot of trust in Tom [Service] and I think he is bringing me to where I need to be. My race on Saturday was a 40 second PR (Personal Record). My fastest official time in the 5k when I was a senior in high school was 18:30, so I ran 40 seconds faster, which is quite a step up - I want to say its about a 15 second average on the mile. To run 18:30, you'd have to average 5:59 per mile and to run 17:50 you'd have to average 5:44.
SC: How big of an adjustment is it to switch between different distances, like for instance, 5k and 6k?
Annie: I've only run one other 6k so far. It was a pretty good race, but certainly the extra k gets to you. I think my strength is `the longer the better' so I like having that extra k to pick off more runners. You just have to go into the race and treat it like it's the normal distance that you always run, and know that you'll have enough heart and strength to hang on to the last k.
SC: Did you celebrate at all after this weekend's race?
Annie: Yeah, my mom and dad came, and then my sister, who I hadn't seen in two months, came and saw my race. Afterwards we went out to dinner and went up to Alum Rock for a hike around the area because they haven't seen much. I took them around campus a bit. The night before the race we went to Santana Row and had dinner. I had never been there before so it was nice.
SC: Well now it's championship season. Are you excited about the WCC Championships and the NCAA Regionals and Championships coming up?
Annie: I am so excited. For conference, my goal (and the teams goal) is to take down Portland. I am so excited to have a shot at my own hometown. I know a lot of girls there that I raced against in high school that are racing there now. There's definitely a rivalry. I remember back in August when I was flying down for preseason - I was sitting at the Portland airport wearing a Santa Clara sweatshirt. Some guy came up to me and said "Santa Clara?!? What, Portland wasn't good enough for you?"
SC: How does all of the championship qualifying work?
Annie: Anyone can run in regionals. Some coaches choose not to have their teams run...like if they know that they are going to be annihilated, essentially...And then to go to nationals, I think it's the top two in the region, and after that it is based on national ranking. I definitely think we have nationals on our minds. If not this year, then definitely in the next few years.
SC: What has been your favorite part of the cross country season so far?
Annie: Notre Dame was great. Just going around, seeing a different part of the country. I had never been to the Midwest before. We got to see some local alumni and go to the Sears Tower. It was great.
SC: Alright, enough about the race course. We've read your bio, but we want to know more. Tell us about the real Annie Murphy-Hagan.
Annie: Well, I love outdoor activities - Anything hiking or water related. Portland has the Columbia Gorge nearby and I love to go hiking there. I have also really gotten involved in Santa Clarans for Social Justice here on campus, and right now we are promoting the genocide awareness week. I am also in the fair trade club. Anna Wheatley and Shannon Bell kind of pulled me into that because they are big active members, and Adrianne Beach is getting involved too.
SC: Tell us, what do you like to do when you aren't studying, or at practice?
Annie: I like listening to music. I also like to draw. I have this sketchbook that I take with me around campus drawing different pictures. I really like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Chicago from back in the 1980s - LOVE Chicago. I love train. Our cross country team was volunteering at the San Jose half marathon and we got tickets to a Train concert in San Jose, so on a Sunday night a bunch of us went down to the HP Pavilion and saw Train and it was awesome.
SC: That sounds like it was a lot of fun. Ok, switching gears now...Taco Bell or Jack in the Box?
Annie: Hmmm...I don't really eat fast food, but...Taco Bell...I guess?
SC: Mission Bakery or Market Square?
Annie: Market square
SC: PC or Mac?
SC: Purple or Pink?
SC: Ducks or Beavers?
Annie: Oooh, that's a tough one. I've been a Ducks fan my whole life...but then I applied to OSU...I'm going to say Ducks.
SC: Now let's play a little word association:
Annie: Team that beats Portland
Annie: Dark room with quiet and writing
Annie: Best running state in the world
Annie: Dinner time
SC: Alright, Annie, last question for you: What are you most looking forward to over these next few weeks?
Annie: I guess I am looking forward to seeing how fast I can run. Like I still don't feel like I've hit that yet and I want to see where that lies. I'm really excited to push the limit and see what I can do.