Santa Clara's track team will travel a few miles up 280 North this Saturday to compete in the Johnny Mathis Invitational at San Francisco State. The Broncos took last weekend off to prepare for this week's finals on the Mission campus.
The Broncos have proven their mettle in the classroom, having led the Athletic Department in team grade point average four straight quarters on the women's side and three straight on the men's side. The women posted a 3.56 grade point average during the Fall 2011 quarter and the men posted a 3.55 GPA. Even more impressive, the women have a 3.4 cumulative GPA and the men currently sit at 3.29. Six Broncos posted perfect 4.0 GPAs: Nhunguyen Le, Matt Savage, Kevin Oliver, Sean Roe for the men and Kayla Germany and Emily Robinson.
Prior to this weekend's competition, head coach Felipe Montoro talked about the team's goals early in the outdoor season, their work in the classroom and who is the coaching staff.
SCB: You've had a couple weeks off and a couple competitions prior to that. You sounded pleased about some really good performances during those two competitions, so could you talk about those competitions a little bit?
XC: We were at Kim Duyst Invite in Turlock and then the Aggie Open at UC Davis. We had a little bit of a slower start for us for the outdoor season since we don't do indoors, but we're still very pleased with how things have gotten started. Now that we're a month or so into the season we're a lot fitter and a lot sharper. Hopefully they're not too fried from finals and we can keep it rolling this weekend.
SCB: The last two springs some of the runners have been dinged up, you've had some injuries, but it seems like you're pretty healthy at the moment.
XC: Like any program we have a few athletes dealing with a few injuries but definitely overall we're pretty healthy and we're very pleased about that.
SCB: This weekend you run in San Francisco and the next week you run at Fresno State's meet hosted at Buchannan High School in Fresno. Is the Fresno State meet one you're really pushing towards?
XC: That's a meet we're really excited for. It's a relatively new meet and it's our first time going to it, but it should be very competitive. It's at the end of spring break so we should be very well rested and it'll be a good opportunity to run fast.
SCB: What are you looking to get out of this weekend? You're just coming off of finals.
XC: We're actually only competing in the 800 and the 1500 meter events even if they're a 10K specialist just because it has been a rough week academically. It's an opportunity to run an off distance if they're a distance runner and to do some shorter stuff and get some faster-paced work in while having a little fun.
SCB: You've led the athletic department four straight quarters in a row with your women's GPA and three straight with the men. Obviously something that's important to you. It must be a team goal and your team really seems to take a lot of pride in that. Is that a goal for your team academically to lead the department?
XC: Yeah I think whether or not they lead the department they're concerned with being the best they can be at whatever they do. If it's top GPA than that's just part of who they are as a group. That's part of who they are, they're very high achievers.
SCB: How do they look during finals week? Do they look like they have it all together?
XC: We worked out last Friday and then this Wednesday. Typically workouts during finals week and dead week can be ugly but they looked great so I think they're really on top of things. Obviously they're more stressed and tired than usual but they've been handling it really well.
SCB: The South Bay features 300 days of sunshine lately, but since early March we have gotten our share of rain. Has the weather affected you guys at all?
XC: No, it hasn't affected us. We've been pretty lucky; it's been pretty mild. For us even if it's raining it doesn't matter. It's not like tennis or baseball where the event is affected if it's raining. Unless there's lightening they don't cancel meets. Even though it has been wetter recently than most of the winter it has still been pretty nice here.
SCB: What are you looking for this weekend?
XC: I think any time we compete we want to run well. It won't be deep competition but it'll pretty good towards the top. Cal is sending some athletes, USF will be very competitive. The host team has some good runners.
Individually, Erin McCarthy has been running great all year. She'll be running an 800 this weekend, hopefully she can run well. Really, I'm just looking for everyone to compete hard and we'll see what happens.
SCB: How does your spring break training plan look?
XC: We'll be training here during spring break. The local kids can go home after the race on Saturday, and then we'll start back up on Wednesday. When they have time off they're still training at home. They're doing everything there that they'd be doing here; they're just doing it at home.