July 14, 2009
With four seniors graduating from the women's cross country team this season, rising senior Stephanie Wilson (SW) knows she has to step up as a leader this coming season. Wilson was recently the first recipient of the Second Harvest Food Bank Outstanding Youth award for her help in the fall food drive. The food drive brought in 3,479 pounds of food and over $700 in cash that helped create more than 4,000 meals for underprivileged people living in the Bay Area.
Below, Wilson talks about why she chose to transfer to Santa Clara, her Second Harvest Food Bank award and how she wants to keep the same fun attitude on the team this year.
Preview by John Gragnola, SCU Athletic Department Student Assistant
SCU: Why did you decide to transfer from UC Davis to Santa Clara after your freshman year? SW: I was really homesick. I really love San Jose and the Bay Area and I have lived here my whole life. I missed my family and all the running trails around here.
SCU: Where is your favorite place to run? SW: This place near my house called Quicksilver. It's really pretty and really hilly with lots of good views. I have been running there and hiking there since I was a little girl.
SCU: What has been your biggest achievement athletically? Academically? SW: Making the conference team last year at the WCC Championships. I made all-conference by the skin of my teeth. The top 10 make it and I was in 11th with 400 meters left. I passed the girl in 10th at the last second with my teammates cheering me on.
Academically, it would have to be the Canterbury Scholarship that I received this year from the English department. Two senior English majors do an extended research project and receive a grant award; and I was one of them.
SCU: You were recently the first recipient of the Second Harvest Food Bank Outstanding Youth Award. What did you do to win the award and what did it mean to win? SW: I work with Matt Smith in Campus Ministries and he came up with this idea of a can food sculpture contest. We tried to ramp up the food drive donations by adding bins to the sidewalk sale, adding extra bins in cellar and making new signs in Benson.
SCU: Who has been your biggest inspiration growing up and what is the best advice you have gotten from that person(s)? SW: I would say my parents. They pushed me to be the best person I could be, but within reason. They expected a lot from me but they always kept me down to earth. I would also say my club soccer coach from high school, Mike Whalen, who is a professor here. He inspired me a lot.
SCU: The women's cross country team graduated four seniors from last year. How will you help lead the team this coming year as a rising senior? SW: I'm going to try to keep the same atmosphere on the team. This past year we were really focused, but we had a good time. We were so much more relaxed going into races which helped during the race. We have a really good sense of humor on our team.
SCU: Do you have any superstitions? Pre-race routines? SW: I don't really have any superstitions. We do the same pre-race warm ups as a team before each race, but that's pretty much it.
SCU: You are very successful in the classroom, posting a 3.84 GPA in English. What do you want to do after your graduate? SW: I think I want to stay at Santa Clara another year and earn a teaching credential. I have an extra season because I didn't run at Davis so I would like to finish up here for one more year and run in my last season.
Best 1500 Time: 4:40
Favorite Movie: Star Wars
Favorite singer: The Matches
Favorite athlete: Barry Bonds
Favorite vacation spot: Yosemite
Favorite Book: East of Eden