By: Shelby Soltau '16
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University's cross country team recently ran impressive races at their own Bronco Invitational on Oct. 13. Luca Signore (LS) ran a personal-best at the Invite with a time of 24:41.2. He finished 26th overall and for the Broncos behind Kevin Oliver. The team is getting ready for the WCC Championships on Saturday at Fernhill Park in Portland, Oregon.
SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) talked to Signore about his recent PR, the team's upcoming race at the WCC Championships and what the cross country teams do together outside of practice.
SCU: You are a double major in Italian and History. Can you tell me more about your background? Were you born in Italy?
LS: I was actually born in Santa Monica, California. However, my whole family is Italian and I was the first member of my family born in the United States. Every summer we fly back to Italy to visit my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Italian was my first language but I decided to pursue Italian Studies as my second major because I want to continue speaking Italian, and I want to discover more about Italian history and culture.
SCU: You recently ran a very impressive PR at the Bronco Invite. What did you do to prepare? How will this effect you moving forward?
LS: Thanks. I was very pleased with my race at the Bronco Invite. It had been a while since I ran a race I was completely happy with so it felt great to finally get that feeling again. I hadn't been racing very well this season but before Bronco, I sat down with my coaches and decided to approach the race a bit differently. I went out a bit more conservatively and was able to move up through the second half of the race. I was happy to run well but it was also a big relief because I knew I was not running to my potential beforehand. Moving forward the race at Bronco has given me confidence in knowing that I don't have to go out with the front of the race in order to finish well or run fast. It also was one of the most painful races of my life, but knowing that I was able to mentally withstand the pain is important going into WCCs because that race is going to hurt more than anything I've ever done.
SCU: The WCC Cross Country Championships are approaching quickly. How are you preparing as a team? Individually? What are you looking forward to most?
LS: Our coach, Felipe Montoro, likes to say that at this point in the season "the hay is in the barn." It means that we've done the work necessary to get to this point and now we just have to put it together. For the past two weeks we've really dialed down the total mileage but we've been working on sharpening ourselves for the race. We've been doing a lot of 1 kilometer repeats in preparation for the WCC meet.
Individually I've been focusing a lot on rest and recovery. My hips had been bothering me all season so I've been going to see a chiropractor the past few weeks in order to get myself healthy again, and I've been really focusing on getting my sleep. Sleep is by far the most important thing to distance running; it prevents injuries, aids with recovery, and allows you to train harder. It is sometimes hard to balance schoolwork, 7 AM practices, and having a life, but at this point in the season the focus is on racing hard and doing the best we can.
I'm looking forward to stepping on the starting line next to my team, knowing that they are all going to put their hearts and souls into the race, and then going out there and doing that myself. My teammates and my coaches have been there for me all season and they deserve the best, so I'm going to make sure to do my best and not let them down.
SCU: What are your goals for finishing the season successfully?
LS: My team goals for finishing the season successfully are to finish fourth at WCC (beat LMU and Gonzaga) and to finish the race knowing that I could not have tried any harder.
SCU: What do you like to do for fun?
LS: In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my friends, driving and working on my car, and, of course, running. It is so much easier to wake up early to go to practice and to run between 70 and 90 miles a week when you truly enjoy what you're doing. Although there are days when I don't feel great, getting to go for a run and to spend time with my friends is worth it.
SCU: Do you do things with your team outside of practices and meets?
LS: The guys on the cross country team are incredibly close, we hang out all the time outside of practice. A lot of us share a house together so we're always around each other and the other guys on the team that live on-campus are always dropping by to hang out. Sometimes we just watch TV together or play foosball, but we also try to organize lots of outings for the team.
We've gone bowling a couple of times, gone to watch a Giants game, and we try to always host pasta feeds at our house for the whole team before big meets. Coming from Lynbrook High School where my coaches, Hank Lawson and Jake White, taught us that a cross country team is like a family, I really wanted to have the same dynamic with the team here. The guys on the team are some of my best friends who I trust with everything.