Written by Brendan Weber '16
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara Broncos (SCB) sat down to chat with redshirt junior cross country runner Bryan Crook (BC) to discuss the team's recent success at the West Coast Conference Championships and life as a distance runner.
SCB: A number of Broncos ran extremely well at the WCC Championships. What do you attribute the team's success to?
BC: We had a number of tremendous performances which is a testament to all of the hard work we've put in this season. This team in particular stands out as the hardest-working bunch I've seen since I came to SCU, so how we ran at WCC's wasn't really a surprise to anyone in the program. I was really happy with how everyone went for it. On top of it all, the conference is extremely deep and the guys from Portland and BYU made it a fast and honest race from the start. We've really bounced back well from last year and we were just a little bad luck away from beating Gonzaga and USF.
SCB: You were the second Bronco to cross the finish line at 24:22.9. What was working for you in the 8K race?
BC: I was actually the only one of our top five not to set a PR on the day, but I think I ran as well as I could have. Sometimes in running you get into the race and don't feel as good as you want to, but you have to work with what you're given and at the end of the day all you can control is that you run as hard as you can. The success I've had throughout the year really helped give me confidence, and I just had to keep telling myself that my fitness was there regardless of how I felt. Knowing Kurt (Ruegg) and Joey (Berriatua) were running great races definitely fired me up to press on as well.
SCB: What do you and the rest of the team need to do in order to keep this momentum rolling through the end of the season?
BC: This point in the season can be really tough. We put in so much work throughout the year that guys often are tired or banged up a little bit. Others feel great and their tendency is to get overzealous and run too hard. The classic saying in running circles is, "The hay is in the barn," meaning the hard work has been done and we can't get any fitter. The true challenge is getting everyone to do what they need to do in order to be as healthy and sharp as possible on race day. During the season we get into the mindset that the harder we work the fitter we will get, so our biggest task will be to switch mindsets and pump the brakes a little bit in training to rest up for our final race.
SCB: As a runner, fueling up for a race is very important. What is your go-to pre-race meal or snack?
BC: Pre-race and race day nutrition definitely varies from person to person. I used to think you needed to carb load on pasta before race day but as I've gotten older I've found there's no special recipe for race day success. What's important is that you eat something normal, so I usually go with chicken and pasta the night before to be safe. The morning of a race I'm a sucker for Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, which are relatively benign compared to some of the junk I eat before morning practice.
SCB: Besides running and taking care of school work, what do you like to do when you have free time?
BC: Oh man, those take up most of it. Recently I've gotten into cooking, which can get me into trouble when I spend too much time making dinner instead of doing homework. This offseason I'm looking forward to getting my golf game back on track. Long walks on the beach are nice too.