November 9, 2011

On the Run with Erin Hartwig

by A.J. von Massenhausen '14

After two years of struggling through significant injuries, Erin Hartwig (EH) has taken advantage of a healthy junior year.  With plenty of motivation and boosted confidence, Hartwig has stepped up and developed into a key contributor for the women's cross country team.  SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) spoke with Hartwig about her excellent finish at the conference championships, her leadership role and how she is preparing for the NCAA West Regional being held this weekend at Stanford.

(SCB): How did it feel after posting such a great time (22:42 in the 6K, placing 35th) at the WCC championships?

(EH): When I first crossed the finish I wasn't paying attention to the clock so I didn't know what my official time was. It was such a thrill to get the official results and see that I had improved my time by such a significant margin. I can honestly say that this is one of the races where I have been most pleased with my efforts; I was definitely on a "runners' high."

(SCB): As a junior on a team with 15 underclassmen, what kind of example do you try to set as a leader for your younger teammates?

(EH): As a runner I've always looked up to the upperclassmen on the teams that I've been on, so speaking from personal experience I really try to set an example for the freshmen and sophomores on the team. There are a lot of new things about college, besides making the adjustment to increased running, and I try to be there for the girls to offer advice on how to best handle college life.

(SCB): With Felipe Montoro serving as the head coach for both teams, what kind of chemistry is there between the men and women's cross country and track teams?

(EH): With Felipe as the head coach, we are around the men's team a lot more which is kind of a refreshing change. Not only do we get to see how hard each other works on the women's team, but now we can see the kind of time and effort the men put in as well which is inspiring. I think there's a great camaraderie between our two teams and it is great to have more practice time with the men now too.

(SCB): Do you prefer the longer distances of cross country or the shorter distances of track?

(EH): I've always gone back and forth between which I like more but now I would have to say it's a tie. I love being out on trails during cross country and competing on hill courses especially, but nothing beats the adrenaline and atmosphere of stepping onto the track. Longer races are more challenging and shorter races can be more fun.

(SCB): After a solid performance in the WCC championships, how are you approaching the NCAA West Regional being held at Stanford this weekend?

(EH): I'm trying to approach Regionals with same attitude as Conference. I was pretty calm and not too caught up in trying to run specific times or with certain people. I just wanted to run, run as hard as I could and leave it all out on the course. This weekend I think I will definitely try to take some risks and really push the boundaries of what I think I'm capable of.

(SCB): What kind of goals have you set for yourself as cross country winds down and you get ready for the track season?

(EH):  Coming off of cross country season I plan on getting a really good winter training in to increase my mileage base. This will be the first time that I'll have had a full year of healthy, uninterrupted training under my belt going into a season so I'm excited to see how it pays off. I will definitely be looking to drop a lot of my times this season and get faster.