By: Lauren Donati, '13
Two important members from both the men's and women's cross country teams at Santa Clara, Meghan McNamara (MM) and Luca Signore (LS), took the time to sit down with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) and discuss injuries, training, the Bronco Family and the upcoming NCAA West Region Championship at Oregon on Saturday, Nov. 13.
McNamara, from Laguna Niguel, California, is in her junior year at Santa Clara. Recently she placed thirty-fourth at the WCC Championship with a time of 23:00 and had the finest race of her career with the Broncos at the San Francisco State Gator Invitational where she finished seventh with a time of 22:59.
Signore is a new addition to the Bronco Family coming in as a freshman from Saratoga, California. He has already added much to the Bronco team, finishing twenty-fourth at the USF Invitational and finishing with a time of 26:07 at the WCC Championship.
MM: Since I couldn't run, I cross-trained with swim and bike workouts. I also took a lot of spin classes and did tons of physical therapy which helped me come back even stronger. What also helped was the inspiration and support from my teammates and coaches. I definitely feel like I'm back 100%, and I'm grateful for all the coaching and leadership that has allowed me to do so.
SCU: Have you been satisfied with your results this season coming off of an injury?
MM: I am extremely satisfied with my results this season. My injuries last year forced me to take a lot of time off of running, but with that, I refocused mentally and recuperated my body completely, which allowed me to attain many of my goals this year and run personal records.
SCU: What is the team doing to prepare for the NCAA West Region Championship at Oregon on November 13th?
MM: Our team is training and racing so well this season. Everyone is peaking at the right time, and our workouts keep getting better and better. Our goal is to get the highest place in Bronco history at the region meet!
SCU: How do you feel continuing your family legacy at SCU?
MM: I love carrying on the family legacy at Santa Clara! Though many of my family members have come, everyone has taken a different path and made the most of their experience in their own unique way. For example, my dad was a catcher for the baseball team and my brother was a goalie for the hockey team. That is what's so amazing about SCU; there are so many different opportunities for everyone. I'm proud that cross country and track have now become part of the legacy. My family has so much pride and school spirit, they love cheering on their fellow Broncos!
SCU: Luca, when did you develop an interest for cross country?
LS: In elementary school we would always do a timed mile once a month around this big grass field. I remember running 9:41 the first time and wanting to beat all the other kids in the class which started to spark my interest in running. Later on in middle school we had an annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot and my friend asked me to run it with him, so I decided to run it and I ended up getting third. I started running on my own after that and I joined the track team later that year.
SCU: Why did you choose to come to Santa Clara?
LS: I chose to come to Santa Clara because it offered everything I was looking for: great academics, great athletics and close to home. Also, Coach Montoro was definitely the nicest out of all the coaches who recruited me and his idea that the training should fit the runner rather than the runner should fit the training made me realize how his coaching could help me become a better runner.
SCU: How has your experience with collegiate cross country running been so far?
LS: College cross country is a lot of work but at the same time a lot of fun. It's a lot different from high school cross country in the sense that we train much more, we race less, and the coaches are completely devoted to a smaller group of runners. It's also a lot harder to manage your time since the practices and races take up much longer than they did in high school, but I feel that after taking a while to get used to it, I'm starting to feel comfortable with the team and the extra work load.
SCU: How do you motivate yourself, or prepare yourself, before races?
LS: I used to get very nervous before races and that would almost always result in either bad races or not so smart races. Recently I've learned to just relax before a race, take a few deep breaths and during the race just focusing on what you're doing; if you're on the first mile, focus on the first mile, don't think about how much is left in the race - just run.
SCU: How are you preparing yourself for the NCAA West Region Championship?
LS: At this point it's all about being relaxed and recovered. I've been taking the runs very easy, making sure not to tire my legs out. We've got one more workout this week where we'll focus on our pace but the rest of the runs will just be nice and controlled to keep everything in check.
SCU: What are your goals for the NCC regionals?
LS: This will be my first 10k race and it will be a very muddy course so I'm not really focusing on time but instead I would just love to help out the team as much as possible. I want to give it everything I've got for the last race of the season.