By Carolyn Linck, '11
Chris Sampson (CS), a senior from Santa Ana, California, definitely loves to run. He's been competing in cross country since his freshman year of high school, and now, eight years later, Sampson is one of Santa Clara's cross-country captains. A preseason All-WCC selection, Sampson hopes to remain healthy and lead by example in his final season running for the Broncos.
Recently Santaclarabroncos.com got a chance to sit down with Sampson to ask him about his favorite places to run, his training regimen, the team dynamic and his favorite memories from his first three seasons at SCU.
SCB: When did you start running competitively? Did you do any other sports growing up?
CS: I started running in high school. I ran cross country all four years, but only ran track my junior and senior years because I also played tennis and they were in the same season. I did a lot of different sports growing up. I use to play tennis, soccer, swim, taekwondo, cricket and rugby. I was born in South Africa, moved to Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and then back to Hong Kong, so I was exposed to a lot different sports growing up.
SCB: Do you listen to music while you run? If so, what?
CS: I always have to listen to music when I run alone. I listen to a different range of music to keep me entertained during the long time by myself but some of my favorites are Jack Johnson, Incubus and Kid Cudi.
SCB: Where's your favorite place to run? Why?
CS: I have a few favorites. I went to high school in southern California and there I do all my long runs on the Aliso Woods Canyon Trail. It's definitely a favorite because once you get to the top of the hill you can look over all of Orange County and the ocean. Up here at school my favorite would have to be Huddart Park because it's shaded and you can run forever up there if you wanted to.
SCB: Do you prefer track or cross-country? Why?
CS: Definitely cross-country. I always end up getting injured in track so I have never had a successful collegiate season. Also, I like the change of cross country: new courses, twists and turns. In track, it's just round and round in a circle.
SCB: What's your training regimen? Do you run everyday? How many miles do you average in a week?
CS: My training has been very inconsistent over the past few years. Freshman year I didn't run a ton, probably 50 to 60 miles a week. After my stress fracture freshman year, I slowly built up to 70 miles a week for my sophomore year. Then I started having Achilles problems. Once I recovered from that the summer before my junior year I maxed out at 87 miles in a week. I ran about 70 miles a week that whole summer. This summer I got injured yet again, so to get back in shape I have been running about 50-60 miles a week, swimming four days a week and doing weight-lifting to strengthen muscles. Right now though I'm on course for an 80 mile week so I getting back there. I run everyday but tend to take Mondays off from time to time if I feel my body needs it.
SCB: What's the dynamic on the team? Do you all train together or individually?
CS: Our team dynamic is great. We all get along pretty well. This summer a bunch of us were here and that made training so much easier. We have organized team practice and do pretty much all our runs together.
SCB: What's been your favorite memory from your first three seasons running for Santa Clara?
CS: My greatest memory was being up in Eugene, Oregon. Pretty much our entire team drove nine hours to come support the team members who qualified for regionals. To see that dedication, support and loyalty from our athletes who did not make the post-season team is definitely evidence of how we are trying to do to elevate the running program at Santa Clara and was something I was very proud of.
SCB: What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your running career at Santa Clara?
CS: My goals for my career are to be WCC All Conference, Top 25 in the NCAA West region and hopefully make it to nationals.
SCB: How do you view your role on the team as a senior this season?
CS: I am a team captain along with Robbie Reid and Chris Mosier. We have to provide a good example of what you need to do to be successful at this level. We are all more lead by example guys and don't bark orders around. We definitely have to instill the mentality of success so that eventually we will be able to compete at the national level.
SCB: What do you like to do besides run?
CS: Besides running I like to hang out with friends, watch movies, go to the beach and watch sports. I enjoy playing tennis and spending time outdoors.