Stephanie Wilson, a senior English major and local graduate of San Jose's Archbishop Mitty, has begun her last track season as a Bronco this spring. Although she did not compete in the 2010 track season due to an injury, she had a record-setting year in cross-country as she was the 2009 NCAA All-American as well as 2009 WCC champion. SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) sat and talked with Wilson (SW) about her experience here at Santa Clara, some tips about running, and potential plans for the future.
By Kaitlin Fuelling '13
SCB: As a senior, how has this season been different than other years? Have you created goals you would like to see yourself or your team to achieve this season?
SW: As a fifth-year senior, this season was different because I got to witness the new team identity develop as the younger girls stepped into leadership roles. I want the team to keep working on unity and commitment. For me personally, it was a very trying year because I've had multiple injuries and haven't been able to compete how I'd like to. My goal for the season is to get healthy again and return to normal training.
SCB: When did you start racing? Have you raced in any races outside of college? Do you see yourself running in such races post-college?
SW: When I was in fifth grade, I ran in a middle school meet at Bellarmine High School. I did the 800 meters, the 200 meters and the long jump just for fun. I was so nervous before the 800! My freshman year of college I didn't compete in any sports, so I did a lot of road races, some 10ks and a 25k that go through Quicksilver Park in South San Jose. Right now, my main goal is to get healthy and train hard again. Once I do that, I want to join a local running club and compete in the club cross-country season this fall. I'm also looking at training for the San Jose Half-Marathon in October. If my body holds up, I'd like to try to make the Olympic trials in the marathon.
SCB: What is your favorite race to participate in?
SW: I love running 5ks on the track, but probably our conference race is my favorite. We run every year at Crystal Springs in Belmont, a tough, hilly course that I ran many times in high school. There are always a lot of alumni and supporters that show up, and the whole morning is intense, but fun.
SCB: What do you consider to be a "good" or "successful" race?
SW: A good race is the one you win. There are different stages to winning though. When you've been injured for a while, just stepping to the line again feels like a win. When I race, I tell myself I'm not going to give up, and if I can look back on the race and identify stages where I took risks and raced in the moment, then that's a winning race. When everything is working right, there are races when it all comes together. You take risks, you push yourself past what you think you can sustain, you don't give up, and you end up winning the race or setting a new personal record. Those are the best moments!
SCB: What would be something you benefited from or could take away from your experience as a student-athlete here at Santa Clara University?
SW: I got so much out of this experience--great friendships, personal development, leadership skills, confidence, connections. It's hard to name just one thing!
SCB: Is there anything you would have liked to participate in or accomplish at Santa Clara that cross-country and track may not have allowed you to do?
SW: I wish I could've done more hiking and camping on the weekends, and taken more trips up to San Francisco.
SCB: How do you prepare for the track season? What do you do in the off-season?
SW: After cross-country ends, we take a week off of training, then cross train for a week, and then begin building up our running mileage for about a month or so. Once we've got a good base of aerobic training, we start to add in some workouts. We do a lot of supplemental training-- strides, drills, strengthening exercises, core work, stretching, rehab.
SCB: Because running can be very stressful on the legs, how have you been able to stay healthy?
SW: This past year I've been constantly injured, so I'm learning a lot about what it takes to be a healthy endurance athlete. Having good nutrition and rest are probably the most important factors. You also have to know when to stop--when a pain becomes a problem. I'm doing more strength-training now too--it helps prevent muscle, joint and bone problems.
SCB: Do you have any pre-race superstitions or strategies?
SW: Before every race, we put fake tattoos on. By the end of the season, my arm is usually covered in weird animals and skull figures.
SCB: Do you have any advice for younger athletes looking to play a collegiate sport?
SW: Contact some student athletes that play your sport so you get an idea of what it's like. We're friendly! And don't be afraid to work hard and try out. Most of life is just showing up.
Look for Stephanie and the rest of the Broncos as they compete at Chico State this upcoming Friday, April 8th.