By: Nicole Grazioli '12
Finishing high school as one of the top local WCAL athletes, Bronco freshman Mary Kriege (MK) had high expectations coming to the Mission Campus. The runner has exceeded her potential her first year and placed highly in each race as one of the top seven Bronco women. Now Kriege and the rest of the women are preparing for the upcoming WCCs.
Kriege started off her Santa Clara cross country career leading the way. At the USF Invitational, she finished in 13th place overall with a time of 18:47. The San Jose, Calif. native remains on the path of success finishing first for the team in the Stanford Invitational (tied with Erin McCarthy) and Willamette Invitational (tied with Mary Reynolds). Even when battling a cold, the motivated freshman finished second at the most recent Bronco Invitational.
SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) spoke with Kriege about how it felt to run her first collegiate race, her favorite place to run and what it's like living close to home.
SCU: Why did you choose Santa Clara's cross country/track program?
MK: I chose Santa Clara because I knew that I wanted to go somewhere that had a good business school and had good cross country and track programs. When I came to visit SCU last winter, Coach Felipe Montoro, Chantelle Wilder and the girls on the team were all great. Overall, I felt this was a great fit for me and I knew that I wanted to go here soon after my visit.
SCU: What did you do this summer to prepare for the season?
MK: Felipe sent us an overview of what he wanted us to do this summer, so I just made up a training plan that went along with those guidelines by gradually building up my mileage over the summer.
SCU: What are your goals for the season?
MK: My goals for the season are to break 18 minutes for the 5k and 22 minutes for the 6k. The WCC meet and NCAA regional meet will both be a 6k so I'll have an opportunity to do that there.
SCU: You opened up your freshman career leading the way for the Bronco women's team at the USF Invitational. How did it feel to finally get a race under your belt?
MK: I was very excited all summer to start racing in college. I raced at Golden Gate Park in high school, but the course we ran is different from the college course. It was also a little strange to be running for a new school against people I've never raced before.
SCU: How do you and your teammates get along? Any bonding exercises to help the freshmen adjust to the team?
MK: The cross country team is very close. Most of us lived in the dorms the last four weeks of summer, so we all got to know each other with nothing else to do other than train and hang out in the hallways of Swig. We also had a running camp at the beach in Santa Cruz just before school started. I like that the men's and women's teams workout together because it gives us more supporter during the races.
SCU: Do you prefer long or short distances?
MK: I like the longer distances better. I'm looking forward to running the 10000m in track.
SCU: Where is one of your favorite trails/courses to run?
MK: Rancho San Antonio is my favorite place to run. I don't have a favorite trail there, but it's a great place for either long or short runs and there are both flat and hilly trails.
SCU: How do you stay motivated during the race?
MK: In high school I stayed motivated in races because I always had a time goal or I had someone that I wanted to beat. Now, everything is new - the courses that I run and the people that I'm racing against are all different. I still always have a goal time going into a race, but it's hard to determine what I should aim for since I've never run the courses before. I usually just focus on staying with my teammates and they pull me along.
SCU: Do you listen to music as you run?
MK: I never listen to music when I run. I'm very clumsy, so listening to music would probably be a big distraction to me and I would be involved in some sort of an accident.
SCU: Do you like running on your own during training or do you have a running partner?
MK: Now that I am back in school, I always have plenty of people to train with.
SCU: How do you like living close to home?
MK: Being close to home has definitely made the transition to college a lot easier. My family can come to most of my races and I can visit home when I want to. I feel very fortunate to have a college close to home where I can get an excellent education and be part of great cross country and track programs.
The men and women's next meet will take place October 29 at the WCC Championships in Belmont, Calif.