By Carolyn Linck, '11
Earning high praise from Bronco associate coach Felipe Montoro, freshman runner Ben Demaree (BD) enters Santa Clara ready to excel in sports and school. Setting high goals for himself in both, Demaree hopes to achieve a great deal in his first year as a Bronco. Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) asked Demaree about his adjustment to college life, his decision to come to SCU and his history as a runner.
SCB: Coach Montoro has applauded your training regimen. What exactly does your regimen consist of and how long have been doing it?
BD: I can thank my high school coach, Tom Rothenberger, for my solid training habits. He was the one who really taught me that being a successful runner was not only about training hard but also about training smart. This can mean a number of different things for runners but for me, a guy who's had a history of injuries, it's about doing the little things to keep myself healthy and running strong. This includes taking plenty of ice baths, rolling out my muscles and a LOT of stretching. Other than that, I really take the effort to listen to my "sensory data," as Coach Montoro always says. I train according to how my body feels: easy some days and harder on others.
SCB: What's your favorite thing about running? Do you prefer to run alone so you can think, with others, with music?
BD: For me the greatest part of being a runner, no matter how talented you are, is the feeling you get after finishing a really solid workout or race. It really lifts me up mentally and physically when I train and compete well. Plus, I can use my good performances as an excuse to take a long nap or to eat a lot! When I train I prefer running with teammates whenever possible. The conversations are the best part; we'll talk about anything while we're running. More than that, my teammates are the guys who will give me that extra boost of motivation when I'm lacking it.
SCB: When did you start running competitively? Did you do any other sports growing up?
BD: I started running during my sixth grade year in middle school. Even though the program there was really low-key, it planted the seeds for my eventual path as a high school and college runner. As far as other sports go, I can't say I've ever played another sport competitively in my life. A lot of the other guys on the team started out on the soccer field and eventually transitioned to running but not me. Still, I'm always up for a game of ultimate Frisbee or badminton when I have the time.
SCB: What do you think is going to be the biggest adjustment for you coming from high school? What are your expectations and goals for your freshman season?
BD: In terms of running, I think I've adjusted very well. The hard part will be balancing running with all of my new responsibilities as a college student. I'm used to having my schedule more or less laid out for me: school all day, practice in the afternoon, homework at night. Now, it's up to me to find the right time for everything without compromising the high quality training I've been used to. It will definitely be a challenge. This season, my number one priority is to stay healthy - everything else should follow. More specifically, my goal for the 8K race is set right around 24:40, and I hope to place in the top 10 at the conference meet. They're lofty goals, for sure, but certainly attainable.
SCB: How do you think you'll adjust to life at Santa Clara academically and socially?
BD: Academically, I think I'll do just great. Coming from Jesuit High School, a Catholic college prep school in Portland, I feel more than well prepared to succeed in the classroom. With a good number of AP and college credits already under my belt, I'm ready to start learning at an advanced level right off the bat. Outside class, I'm really looking forward to meeting a bunch of people here at SCU. It's been great getting to know all the guys on the cross country team, and I know that because I have a wide range of interests I shouldn't have much trouble meeting people beyond the team, either.
SCB: What attracted you to Santa Clara? Why did you decide to come here?
BD: My college choice was a tough one, for sure. Initially, SCU wasn't one of my top choices, but as I got to know Coach Montoro and his team better I began to consider SCU as a very possible choice. I eventually chose SCU because it had the most to offer me both as a student and as a runner. I had the opportunity to study in a very competitive engineering program while at the same time run and compete for an equally competitive Division 1 team. It also doesn't hurt that the weather here is perfect!
SCB: What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your running career at Santa Clara?
BD: Well, I know I have a long road ahead of me and right now I can only dream of it, but my greatest goal would be to make it to the NCAA championships and become an All-American runner. Less personally, though, over my next four years here I want to see the cross country program develop into the perennial WCC powerhouse I know it has the potential to become. With the full support of the University and the student body, I know that this goal is well within our reach.