SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Kevin Oliver (KO), a member of the cross country and distance track team, spent some time with SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) to discuss his past, present, and future experiences and opportunities. The senior from Tualatin, Ore. has earned a number of personal best times in events such as the1500m, 3000m, 5000m, and 10,000m.
SCB: As a senior, what are you going to miss most about being at Santa Clara?
KO: I'm going to miss a ton of things about Santa Clara, but mostly the people on this team. I've had more fun with the cross-country team than I ever could have imagined. All of my best memories from college involve this group, and it hurts to think about not being around them every day.
SCB: What sort of legacy do you think you and other seniors will leave for the rest of the team?
KO: It's hard to say. Every year brings about a new team with a new identity, and I can't pretend like people are going to remember us forever. But I hope that people retain the genuine enthusiasm and excitement that I have for the sport and for Santa Clara athletics in general. I hope they remember to stay focused on academics too. We've prided ourselves on having the top team GPA for several years now, and it would be nice to keep that trend going.
SCB: What are you looking forward to most about track season?
KO: The competitions, plain and simple. Track meets are the most fun events in the world for me. Everything about them gets my blood pumping like crazy. I enjoy watching my teammates race as much as I enjoy racing myself. This is the one advantage track has over cross-country; not everyone is in the same race, so you get the opportunity to see your teammates in action.
SCB: How did you spend your spring break? Did you do a great deal of training or cross training?
KO: I had a relaxing spring break with my family and friends, highlighted by a stay at Ben Demaree's beach house with him and Andrew Gaddis. We went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and got some ice cream, which was a nice treat. We also had a snowball fight. I didn't get in as much mileage as I did during winter break my junior year, but I stayed healthy enough that I didn't have to cross train.
SCB: Do you prefer track or cross-country? Within track, what is your favorite distance?
KO: Cross country usually appeals to me more, but there's something magical about track meets as well. My best distance is the 10,000m, but I enjoy watching the 1500m the most, and competing in it on rare occasions.
SCB: Do you have a meet in particular you are looking forward to?
KO: The SF State Distance Carnival is usually my favorite meet, and it went great this year. We had 11 people set personal records, and I ran maybe the best race of my life in the 5k. I'm also looking forward to racing the 10k at the Mt. SAC Relays in a couple of weeks. I've never qualified before, so the prospect of traveling to participate in such a big and competitive meet is exciting.
SCB: What are some of your goals for the rest of the season?
KO: The big goal is to run a sub-30 minute 10k, and hopefully qualify for the regional meet (first round of Nationals) in Austin, Texas in late May.
SCB: What have you enjoyed most about being on a team during college?
KO: There are a lot of amazing people with unique personalities on this team. The friends I've made here have helped keep me sane throughout my time in college. I feel blessed to have been surrounded by some unforgettable people for the better part of the last four years.
SCB: If you could run anywhere in the world, where would it be?
KO: A track at Santa Clara University.
SCB: What is something people usually don't know about distance runners?
KO: I think there's a general perception that running is a simple sport; we just go out and try to run hard. But there is a huge mental aspect, and a ton of preparation goes into approaching races the right way. A bunch of us are incredibly superstitious when it comes to pre-race routines. I've tried to move past that this season. I feel like if I'm
enjoying myself, I'll run fast.
Most distance runners are pretty weird. That isn't a misconception.
SCB: If there were one piece of advice you could share with someone just starting out at Santa Clara, what would it be?
KO: My general advice is always to drink a lot of water and avoid drugs. Specific to Santa Clara, I think it's important to note that there are a million opportunities to get involved in a million different things. Do something that makes you uncomfortable. You'll grow through the process and probably make some good friends.