October 16, 2007

Puetz aiming for the record books

Oct. 16, 2007

The Santa Clara

By Ryan Donugh

Senior Adriane Puetz has her sights set on breaking the course record this week at the Bronco Invitational in Sunnyvale.

"I really want to PR (personal record) this week and break the course record because this is my last 5K here at Santa Clara," she said.

Puetz has been turning heads all season with her impressive runs. Most notably, she set a new Santa Clara women's 6K record with a time of 21:25 at the Sundodger Invitational in September.

Puetz turned out another outstanding performance at the USF Invitational, winning the 5K race in 17:58. She also placed ninth at the Notre Dame Invitational in September.

The victory at USF was a big jump for Puetz, who placed 39th last season in the same invitational with a 5K time of 19:49, nearly two minutes slower than her time this season. Puetz also significantly improved her time at the Sundodger Invitational, where she was clocked at 23:35 for the 6K last year, over two minutes slower than this year's mark.

Her drive to compete at this high level only grew after last season, which, according to Puetz, was not one of her best.

"I didn't have my best season last year, and then I took my two weeks off after the season," Puetz said. "Then we started training again, and that was when the transition started; where I was really getting into it. I wanted to do good -- I wanted to be a top runner on the team."

Puetz has excelled at cross country since her days at Cleveland High School in Portland, where she got her start in competitive distance running.

"Some of my friends were doing it, and so that's how I got into cross country," Puetz said. "I slowly started to develop a passion for it."

As her passion grew, so did her success. During her high school cross country career, Puetz was a two-time All-League selection and led her team to their first-ever state championship appearance. According to Puetz, this was one of her proudest moments.

"We had never been to the state championship, and we had to beat two very good teams to get there," she said.

Despite success in high school, Puetz wasn't sure if she wanted to run at the collegiate level.

"I didn't really know if I wanted to run in college, and then I looked into Santa Clara and looked at the team. I decided to try it, and I'm really glad I did," Puetz said.

The cross country season has already been a major success. Both the men's and women's teams won the USF Invitational and boasted the first-place finishers in each race. Puetz, however, isn't letting success get to her head.

"I started off with that really great race, kept it going, and I'm hoping to peak at nationals."