By: Gabe Taylor '12
Every Thanksgiving the Parker's would take a trip down from the rain-drenched terrain of Seattle to the clear skies of Northern California to visit their relatives. And on every occasion, Carey Parker would accompany her father, Greg, when he ventured to his alma-mater, Santa Clara University.
Although the thought of coming to Santa Clara lingered in the back of her mind throughout high school, Parker was never certain she would end up following in her father's footsteps.
"My dad didn't expect that any of his kids would come here," said Parker.
But when it came time for both her brother and her to decide on a school, Santa Clara prevailed.
While racing a Seattle Prep High School, Parker's cross country career hit a high-note when she was invited to the Nike Cross Nationals. Securing a spot at the invite required a flawless performance, as only the top-five individuals earned a chance to compete. And Parker delivered.
"It was the coolest race I'd ever been to in my life," said Parker, who enjoyed representing the Northwest.
Parker has retained the enthusiasm she felt for the Nike Invite, and has translated that emotion to the WCC Championships.
"It's not a sport where it really matters how you do throughout the year, there's really only one race that matters," said Parker.
And that one race happens to be her favorite. The crowds and the Crystal Springs course help create an ecstatic environment for the event to take place in.
"I've really started to appreciate the area," said Parker, noting the excellent running locations that surround Santa Clara.
As a freshman Parker crossed the finish line with a time 22:35 – good enough for 18th place. Last season, Parker landed in 32nd with a time of 22:53.
Now a junior, Parker is prepared to inhabit a position of guidance while focusing on upping her overall performance.
"We're really trying to step up the leadership role, because we're now the upperclassman," said Parker.
This summer, Parker spent three weeks abroad in Kenya volunteering at an orphanage.
"I'm really happy I had that experience," said Parker.
Upon returning to the U.S., Parker re-instated her training practices with slight modifications.
Bronco head coach Felipe Montoro's training style weighs heavily on the runners racking up mileage during the summer, rather than focusing on details, such as tempo.
With the season already jumping the gun, the WCC Championships grow even nearer. And soon enough, Parker's chance to make it count will be knocking at the door.