By Carolyn Linck, '11
After an excellent freshman year at Santa Clara University on and off the track, Allie Sibole (AS) is ready to continue her success in 2011-12. Returning to her hometown of Eugene, Ore. this summer to intern and train, Sibole hopes that next year she can continue to set personal records in both track and cross country. Recently, www.SantaClaraBroncos.com caught up with Sibole about her adjustment to the collegiate level of running, her goals for the remainder of her Bronco career and how she balances academics and athletics.
SCB: How do you think you adjusted to collegiate level of running this year? How different is running for Santa Clara University than running in high school?
AS: I think the adjustment went really well. The biggest change was the volume of running. My mileage doubled from high school, and my weekly long runs became twice as long! The pace per mile also got quite a bit faster. I spent all of last summer working up to that point gradually, and I was extra careful to watch for any signs of injury or overtraining. The other big difference was adjusting to college competition, because a pace that could have won a state championship in high school can still put you in the back of the pack in college. I've actually enjoyed the higher stakes, because I run best when I'm pushed to compete.
SCB: You were the Valedictorian at Marist High School in Eugene, Ore. How was your academic adjustment at SCU? How do you balance school with running, and what are you majoring in?
AS: I was involved in quite a few activities in high school, which prepared me to deal with the extra stress of college. Although my college schedule has fewer classes, those classes are a lot more demanding in their homework and tests, so setting aside enough time for schoolwork is extremely important. My first two terms, I had quite a few late nights finishing homework, but I've definitely become better at finding time to get work done during this quarter. For example, I did almost all of my readings for classes while I was cross-training in Malley, and I finished quite a few assignments on the bus to track meets. I'm a bioengineering major, so I'm planning to continue to use those time management skills for the next three years!
SCB: What are your summer plans? What will your training regimen consist of?
AS: This summer I'm aiming to consistently run 50-60 miles a week after a few weeks of building up to that. My training will also include active stretching, drills, strides and core work. The main goal for the team is to stay healthy while building a solid mileage base for the fall. When I'm not running, I'll be catching up with friends and family and working as an intern at a biotechnology company in Eugene.
SCB: Which do you prefer track or cross country? Why?
AS: I love them both, but I'm especially passionate about track. I love the adrenaline rush right before the gun goes off, and I enjoy planning specific race strategies based on the distance and the ability of the competitors. Track meets can be long, but it's fun to hang out with the team all day. At the same time, I love all the camaraderie and the sense of accomplishment that comes from cross country, too.
SCB: How old were you when you started running competitively? Did you play any other sports growing up?
AS: My school district had a great track program for middle school kids, so I've been competing in track since 6th grade. Growing up, I also played basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball at one time or another. When I was younger I competed in field events, too. I didn't really enjoy running until I joined the cross country team my sophomore year, but I soon realized that I loved it. Eugene is an awesome place to run because everyone is so enthusiastic and supportive of track and cross country.
SCB: In cross country you ran personal bests this year in the 5k at the Bronco Invite (18:04) and in the 6k at the NCAA West Regional Championships (22:59). What do you attribute these stellar performances to, and how do you think you will eventually be able to top them?
AS: One of the benefits of running more miles each week is that 5K and 6K races don't seem as long any more. Because I had built up more endurance over the summer and into the fall, I was able to focus more on racing strategy rather than just trying to make it through the course! The team was also crucial in helping me to train harder and race faster. My motto throughout cross country season was "Run fearlessly," which meant taking risks with the pacing, focusing on moving up through the pack and giving all my effort in every race. I think if I keep up that strategy in the upcoming season, my times should hopefully go down even more. We'll have a really strong group of girls in the fall, and I'm confident that we'll see big PR's all around.
SCB: What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your Bronco career?
AS: As a baseline goal, I'd like to continue to set personal bests each season and avoid injury. For track, my ultimate goal is to qualify for the NCAA regional meet. It's harder to think that far ahead in cross country, since I still feel like I'm new to racing at this level. I'd like to be a part of a team that has five girls each run under 18:00 in the 5K and that has a strong presence at the conference and regional level. With the WCC and West region continually getting faster, this will definitely require a lot of individual dedication to make that possible for the team.