Nhunguyen Le Prepares for Senior Season

by Carolyn Linck

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. - Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Nhunguyen Le (NL) is looking forward to his senior season running for the Broncos.  With the goal to set personal records this year, Le is training diligently this summer.  Recently, www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Le about his involvement in activities other than running at SCU, his adjustment to life in America and the highlight of his Bronco career thus far.

SCB: What are you looking forward to most in your senior season?

NL: The incoming team looks to be the fastest we have had in Santa Clara history. I am looking forward to seeing our team perform at a high levels and competing for high team finishes in the WCC as well as the West Region. Although it is still early in the summer, everyone is training really well, and I am excited to see what our team can do. With our fifth-year seniors Robbie Reid and Chris Sampson coming back for their last fall, our team is ready to make some noise!

SCB: What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your Bronco running career?

NL: Since there is only one year left, I hope to train consistently and avoid injury. I want to set personal bests in every race that I run and help my team perform at our fullest potential. Overall, I want to end my Bronco career knowing that I gave running my best effort and that I had fun doing it.

SCB: What are you doing this summer? What does your training regimen consist of?

NL: When I am not running, my main focus this summer has been studying for the MCAT. Besides that, I have been catching up with high school friends and spending time with my family.  In terms of training, I am currently building up to 85-90 miles a week. During these peak weeks, Coach Montoro has us running two long runs that are 90 minutes and two hours. The rest of the week consists of one-hour runs in the morning and 30 minute runs in the afternoon. The mileage is complemented with drills, strides, stretching and core routines that we do three to four times a week.

SCB: You set a personal record in the 5000m, running 15:45:57 this April.  How exciting was it to set a new record for yourself, and how do you hope to beat this time next season?

NL: It was exciting to run a personal best in the 5000m, however, it is not an event that I run very often. I really enjoy competing in the 3000m steeplechase, and it is what I am most excited about racing next season. Because of the barriers, the steeplechase is an event that requires a lot of strength and flexibility. These aspects of the event that I will need to start working now during cross-country season. By training consistently and at a high volume this summer I will be able to build my strength. In terms of flexibility, I will do drills and stretching regularly to make jumping the barriers as smooth as possible. Hopefully, I will be able to beat my personal best next track season! 

SCB: You are from Melbourne, Australia.  How different is America from your home? What was the largest adjustment for you when you first moved to Santa Clara?

NL: The United States is very different from where I came from in Australia. My parents were refugees from the Vietnam War, and I lived in a predominantly Vietnamese community. I primarily spoke Vietnamese at home.  Because of those cultural differences – language, food, clothing and so forth – there were some large adjustments for me when I came to the United States.  It was also a tough change, leaving friends and family so far away. Luckily, I had a lot of time to adjust before going to Santa Clara.

SCB: Aside from track and cross country, you've also been involved in student government at Santa Clara University.  How are you able to balance your time across all your responsibilities effectively?

NL: Balancing my responsibilities has not always been easy, and I have not always been able to do it well. There have definitely been times when things have felt very overwhelming.  Fortunately, Coach Montoro has been very understanding of the different time commitments that I have had. His flexibility and willingness to work with my schedule has tremendously helped me balance my responsibilities.  My teammates have also been very supportive. They have kept me motivated and excited to get my work done.

SCB: What has been the highlight of your Santa Clara running career thus far?

NL: That's a tough question. I don't think that there has been necessarily one highlight for me. Meeting and getting to know all my teammates the past three years has definitely been an experience that I will cherish. There are so many people that I look up to on the team, and they are some of the best people I have met in my life.  I am currently living at the cross country house. It has been amazing not only seeing my teammates at practice, but also sharing the rest of my college experience with them.