By: Gabe Taylor '12
Adapting to a new environment comes easily for Bronco distance runner Chris Sampson.
Beginning his life in South Africa, Sampson would soon accompany his family on a worldly excursion due to his father's profession. Hong Kong marked the next destination for the Sampson family, followed by Japan.
"I got to go to a lot of places that a lot of people don't ever get to see," said Sampson, explaining his families numerous relocations.
It wasn't long before Sampson's family resettled once again, this time in Australia.
"It was a little hard that I would live in a country for a year and then have to move to another country," said Sampson, admitting the hardships of transitioning between homes. "Making friends and then leaving friends at a young age is tough."
Although Sampson experienced various cultures in short period of time, he managed to bypass the stages of culture shock upon moving to America. This was due, in large part, to the similarities between Australia and the U.S.
By the time Sampson reached Santa Ana, Calif., he was as comfortable with introductions as any middle schooler could be. Meeting new people had been a routine part of his childhood.
When high school came around the bend, Sampson decided to take to his feet. But this time, a different kind of moving was involved. Gradually, Sampson developed into a strong distance runner while running track at Mater Dei High School, eventually landing the honor of being named to the All-Trinity League.
"It felt pretty good so I just continued doing it every year and getting faster and faster," said Sampson.
After deciding between Santa Clara and UCSB, Sampson concluded that being a Bronco would enable him choose between a pathway in civil engineering or business.
In his junior year, Sampson put up his most memorable effort to date, placing 7th at the WCC Championships with a time of 25:23 and was named First Team All-WCC. The WCC Championships continue to be his favorite of all cross country terrains.
"It's more of a measure of how tough you are than necessarily how fast you are," said Sampson.
Over the summer, Sampson's love for traveling persisted. Spending nearly a month in Europe, he turned down the notch on his routine exercising – running 70 miles a week and swimming 4-5 days a week - and regained his energy prior to this season.
Sampson dealt with achilles problems throughout the 2010 summer and was unable to compete in the majority of last year's cross country season, leaving him eligible for the 2011 season.
"I didn't feel like I was in good enough shape to use my last year," said Sampson.
Considering Sampson planned on staying for a fifth year to complete Santa Clara's five-year engineering program, the situation proved to pan out.
Sampson's senior project, which consists of helping to design earthquake and hurricane resistance housing for Haiti, will continue into his masters program. In the near future, he plans on traveling to Haiti to assist with building homes.
It will mark yet another adventure in Sampson's bustling life.