By: Gabe Taylor
Despite suffering from an injury during training (hamstring), Bronco freshman Mary Kriege (MK)emerged as newcomer worth paying attention to this past season. At the 2011 NCAA Cross Country West Regional Championship, Kriege ran a time of 22:12 in the 6K. During track season, she posted a time of 4:39.44 in the 1500m at the 2012 Sac State Open. The soon-to-be-sophomore caught up with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) to reflect on her rookie campaign and highlight a few of the best moments.
SCB: Would you say you met or exceeded your expectations for your 'rookie' season?
MK: Before the track season started, I hurt my hamstring and I wasn't able to train very much during the winter. By February, I was healthy and running again but I didn't quite know what to expect from the season since I had missed a lot of critical training. Thankfully by the time first race came around, I was finally feeling good again and I was able to run a personal best at almost every race throughout the season. Considering I started the year off with an injury, I exceeded my expectations by improving my times despite this early setback.
SCB: What moment were you most proud of this year?
MK: As a long distance runner, I surprised myself by improving a lot in the 1500m this year. Towards the end of the track season at the Sacramento State Open, three of my teammates and I took four of the top five spots in the 1500m. It's great when our team can work together and be the fastest athletes in a race.
SCB: What has been your favorite part about being at SCU thus far?
MK: It's been great to meet so many different people at Santa Clara. Being on the cross country team has made the transition to college so much smoother since I have gotten to know my teammates so well. Over the year I have been at Santa Clara, my teammates have become some of my closest friends.
SCB: Do you prefer track or cross country? Why?
MK: It's tough to pick one over the other, but track is my favorite sport. For one thing, in cross country there are a lot of variables in each course such as surface terrain, hills, sharp turns and narrow trails. This definitely makes cross country more interesting, but it is hard to measure progress because it's almost impossible to accurately compare one course to another. On the other hand, track races are essentially the same conditions every time (track surface). I like to be able to measure my progress over a season, which is much easier to do in track.
SCB: Do you already have a training plan for next season?
MK: I am gradually increasing my mileage over the summer to have a good base for the upcoming cross country season.
SCB: What are you going to work on most for next season?
MK: With a year a college experience behind me, I'm more familiar with my competitors and the courses that we race on. I have learned a lot this year from racing experience (e.g. losing a shoe, stopping to put it back on, and sprinting to make up for lost time until I'm in oxygen debt with still a mile and a half do go doesn't work so well). Next year I will be more confident in my ability to react well in a race if things don't go exactly as planned. Also, I want to work together more with my teammates on race strategy and working as a group at practice and races. This will give us a competitive edge when we can help each other out in a workout or race.
SCB: What are your plans for the summer? Is there one thing that you're most excited for?
MK: I have a busy summer ahead of me. I'm going to be training, working and taking classes. I'm most looking forward to going to Maui with my family for two weeks in the middle of July.