By Rico Chow '12,
A native of San Jose's Leigh High School, Peter Stephens (PS) is in his second season at Santa Clara University cross country/tack team. He earned a personal best in 5000m at Chico State Distance Carnival on April, 2011 with a time of 15:48:76. In his interview with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU), Stephens shares his passion and reveals the significant skills in a long distance running.
SCU: What have been your favorite parts about being a student-athlete at Santa Clara?
PS: It's nice having a team that is serious about running but still has fun. In high school there's a lot more complaining. Being able to travel to different races has also been exciting, especially since I've never done much traveling outside of California.
SCU: What are some of the goals for the men's track team?
PS: Looking into the future, we would really like to go to nationals as a team. We've been improving and making it there would be a great marker for how far we've come.
SCU: Athletes are always looking to improve their skills. For example, dribbling skills in soccer or shooting skills in basketball. What do you think is the most important skill in running?
PS: I think the most important skill is to have the determination to go out and run everyday. To do well in distance running, you have to have a strong base, which means lots of mileage over the summer.
SCU: What did you find the biggest difference between high school and college races?
PS: College races are a lot more competitive. You basically need to run as fast or faster than you did in high school but on an 8k course instead of a 5k. Everyone is running at a higher level.
SCU: What is your favorite and least favorite part about running?
PS: My favorite part is when I'm doing a workout or racing and when everything is working right at the same time. I feel great even if it is really hurting. On the other hand, I really don't like being injured. It's hard to watch the rest of your team run without you.
SCU: What do you do at your free time?
PS: I like reading, spending time with friends, playing videogames, and camping. The last few summers I've gone backpacking, which was pretty fun. Doubt I have that much free time during the school year, though.
SCU: Most people think that running is an individual sports. Do you think team chemistry of the cross country team is significant factor of improvements?
PS: I would think so. It's important to be running with each other rather than against our own teammates. Our team has a great sense of community and it helps to have a bunch of people cheering for you when you're racing.
SCU: What is your career goal at SCU?
PS: I'm majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in math. In the future I'm thinking of taking the five-year master's program as well.