Bryan Crook Overcomes Adversity to Pace Broncos at WCC’s

By, Shelby Soltau '16

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
After missing his first season on the cross country team due to an injury, sophomore Bryan Crook (BC) became motivated to make an impact on the team this year. He recently competed and took first place for the Broncos in the WCC Cross Country Championships. SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Crook about overcoming his injury, how the team is doing so far in 2012-13, and what the team will look like next year.

SCB: What was it like missing out on cross country due to your injury last season? How have you recovered and improved?

BC:
Missing out on a season was tough, especially as an incoming freshman. I tried to stay engaged with my training even though the bike and pool can get pretty boring. I made an effort to go to practice every day just to stay involved with the team. My teammates helped a lot by being so supportive and keeping me positive. Being injured definitely helped me learn the importance of training within my capabilities and motivated me to come back with something to prove.

SCB: You recently came in first place for the Broncos at the WCC Championships. Talk about this impressive race, your preparation, and how this will affect you moving forward?

BC:
All season Felipe (Montoro) has stressed running negative in relation to the field over the second half of races. I went out a little easier than I had in previous races and executed the game plan as best I could. Making a strategy ahead of time and being confident in my training helped me focus solely on taking care of business. Races like WCC's certainly give me confidence that I can work out with anybody on the team and put myself in the thick of competition at big races.

SCB: What does the team's potential look like for next year?

BC:
I'm excited to see what we can do next year. Going into next year we probably have the most talent on the roster that we have ever had, so hopefully we can stay healthy and surprise some people. We learned a lot this year and next year we will return Ben, Sean, Tony, and Marcos from injury, all of whom will be ready to contribute. We were a bit disappointed in how we did this year so I think we will come back with a chip on our shoulder and hopefully that will translate into our best finish ever at regionals and a national bid.

SCB: When did you start running competitively and how did you become interested?

BC:
In sixth grade I started to go for a mile run halfway through my math homework because it helped me refocus. I did pretty well in our district junior Olympics that year and then joined track the following year in middle school. Once I started high school cross country at Mountain View I was hooked for good!

SCB: How does the cross country team dynamic help you in races?

BC:
The team dynamic of cross country is incredible. Some of us live together and we run side-by-side every day. That makes you appreciate all the time and effort that every other guy on the team puts into getting faster. It makes me work harder because I feel like I owe it to them and to be honest working out with them is so much fun it hardly seems like work when we're out there. When I get on the line with them I know they are going to give it everything they have so that helps me dig a little bit deeper when races get tough.

SCB: Which course has been your favorite to compete at so far?

BC:
Each course I've run this year has been really cool. Stanford has an amazing atmosphere because thousands of people are there to watch. Our home course at Bronco is great because its fast, spectator friendly, and so many people from Santa Clara come out to cheer us on. The WCC course in Portland edges those out though. It was a lot of fun racing in the mud and rain that weekend and you can't beat the championship experience.