May 9, 2012

Bronco Track To Finish Season At West Coast Invite

VIDEO: Erin McCarthy and Richard Zhu Talk About Being Seniors, Their Four Years and More!

Santa Clara's track teams will head north to Salem, Ore. this weekend to run in West Coast Invite, a meet co-hosted by Portland and Willamette University.  It's the second year the meet has been in place with a number of West Coast Conference track teams and a few competitors from other universities attending as well.  Bronco head coach Felipe Montoro (FM), finishing up his second season at the helm, spoke about the meet earlier this week and what this senior class has meant to the program.

SCU: Is there a chance with the addition of BYU this year and Pacific in the next couple years, the WCC will add outdoor track?  Have the coaches talked about this?

FM: This has been discussed, but it is not something that will happen in the near future. Our current system of qualifying for the NCAA Championships does not depend on having an official conference championship, so SCU and the other WCC schools are not at a disadvantage there. The West Coast Invite, which serves as our unofficial championship, is exactly what we need as a conference as we are currently set up.

SCU: Senior Erin McCarthy is very close to an NCAA qualifier. What will she have to run to make the list?  

FM: Currently she is 78th on the descending order list for the West Region (there are two regions, the other being the East Region). Her personal best mark this year is 2:09.85. The top 48 from both the East and West region make it in automatically to the first round and the 48th best mark is 2:08.72. So if she runs about a second faster she will be in the mix for a spot in the first round of the NCAA Championships.

SCU: Many of your seniors - Richard Zhu, Austin Jones, Nicole Giove, McCarthy, etc. will be running in their last races this weekend.  Talk about the impact they have had on your program.  What have they helped you achieve?

FM: This would be a really long interview if I went into all that those student-athletes have done for our program. In terms of performance, during their time at SCU, those student-athletes have played a major role in making us a better team. We are undoubtedly more competitive than we were four years ago. But what really stands as their lasting impact is what great people they are and how they represented themselves, our team and Santa Clara while they were here. We are going to really miss them!

SCU: What are your goals this weekend?  On the men's side and the women's side?

FM: Compete to the best of our ability, take some risks, and run with Bronco pride and toughness.

SCU: What has been a pleasant surprise this spring? Who has been a pleasant surprise?

FM: Chantelle (assistant coach Chantelle Wilder) and I were pleasantly surprised with how smooth the transition to all morning practices has been. Individually, there have been a number of athletes that made major improvements this spring, but Erin Hartwig really upped her level of competitiveness this season.

SCU:  How does running track get the team ready for running cross country in the fall?

FM: Even though they both involve running, they really are different sports. However, both sports feed off one another and provide continuity in training and opportunities to continue to test yourself in competition. In distance running the most important factor in whether or not a runner continues to improve is consistency in training year in and year out. Having competition in the fall and in the spring allows for that.