Oct. 1, 2007
Chris Sampson is a freshman at Santa Clara and just recently broke the freshman record two weeks earlier for the Sundodger Invitational with a time of 25:08 and is making a push to become the team's top runner after finishing just ten seconds behind senior Michael Delaurenti this Saturday at the Stanford Invitational, the closest the margin has been all year. SantaClaraBroncos.com sat down with Sampson for a one-on-one.
SantaClaraBroncos: How has it been adjusting from the 6k in high school to jumping up to an 8k in college?
Chris Sampson: My first race at USF was kind of rough; I wasn't used to running the extra two miles. I learned from what I did wrong there and applied it to Sundodger.
SCB: What has it been like stepping in as a freshman and being the team's #2 guy?
CS: I didn't expect it at all. My goal this year was to break 26 minutes. Now it's to break 25. I have no idea where it came from. When I got here I just tried to stay up with the top guys and eventually it just started clicking.
SCB: What has it been like getting adjusted to running at a collegiate level?
CS: The hardest part is being okay with being in the back. In high school I was used to running with the top group, now I have to get used to not being the best. It's been hard not going out with the top group, just staying back and trying to work my way up. But the cool thing is that the guys that used to beat me in high school I'm beating them now.
SCB: What does it feel like to hold a freshman record at Santa Clara?
CS: I've never held a record, ever. It's pretty amazing. At Sundodger you come around a turn and you can see a clock when there's about 200 meters left and I saw 24:50 something and I had no idea I was going that fast or even that it was a record until my coach told me. I'm trying to not let it get to my head because there are guys out there who can still beat me pretty bad.
SCB: The team has a real strong group of young runners this year. Does the future look bright?
CS: We're definitely looking towards the future. We have great potential, but it's going to take a few years to get guys really used to running an 8k. By my junior year my goal is to have a team that goes to nationals.
SCB: How has college life been for you so far this year?
CS: It's pretty hectic. I'm taking 18 units because I'm an engineer on top of running. Running makes it all better. Whenever I get stressed out I just go to practice with the team and run.
SCB: What do you personally want to accomplish this year?
CS: I want to win freshman of the year. Portland almost always takes it with a redshirt freshman, but I think I have a good shot at it. Their runners right now are running about ten seconds behind me, but I don't know what kind of courses they've been running on. They're definitely fast. It will all just depend on the day [the WCC Championships] and who is having a good day.