By Kaitlin Fuelling, '13
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Last weekend the Bronco track team traveled north to compete at the UC Davis Aggie Open. Sophomore Audrey Hiatt (AH) had great success in her first ever steeplechase event. She placed 5th overall in the 2000m race with a time of 7:24.27. SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) talked to Hiatt about her experience running and some of her goals for the season.
SCB: When did you start to run competitively?
AH: I started to run in the third grade, but not very much at all. It was in the sixth grade that I started competing and absolutely fell in love with cross country!
SCB: Do you prefer cross country or track? Within track, what is your favorite distance?
AH: I definitely prefer cross country to track. I love having different terrain to deal with and the strategy that comes with navigating a course with different curves, terrain, and hills. Also, I really like the team aspect in cross country. There is nothing that compares to the feeling of accomplishment after you have scored some points for your team. As for track, I prefer the longer distances. Right now I'm training for the 3000m steeplechase, which is a great distance and involves some barriers to shake things up. It's a really fun event!
SCB: How do you train for the steeplechase?
AH: I don't train much differently for the steeplechase in practice than other distance runners on the team. I have some extra drills I go through and Coach Felipe (Montoro) incorporates hurdles into my workouts, but other than that it's basically the same. The main challenge is trying to keep a confident outlook because if I doubt my ability to get over a barrier, I'm not going to make it.
SCB: What are some of your goals for the rest of the season?
AH: My main goals are to compete at the West Coast Challenge in May and to set a new Santa Clara steeple record for the women. Dreaming big, I would love to compete at Regionals, but we'll see how the season goes!
SCB: What have you enjoyed most about being on a team during college?
AH: I absolutely love our team. We all have a good understanding of each other because we know what it's like to balance academics, practice, and competition, so we form a solid support system. It's also nice to just have this family to hang out with every day, whether it's at 7 in the morning and we're running a tough workout or 7 in the evening and we're having a team dinner. We are all here for each other and we just have a great time.
SCB: What is something that you have learned while being at Santa Clara?
AH: One thing I have learned at Santa Clara is how to prioritize and relax a bit. When you have to balance school, practice, working, etc., you have to be able to relax or you'll burn yourself out. I really think that understanding this has led me to perform better this year on and off the track.
SCB: Where is your favorite place to run? If you could run anywhere in the world, where would it be?
AH: My favorite place to run is probably Nicene, which is a park in Santa Cruz our team goes to sometimes. It is absolutely gorgeous! It seems like an enchanted forest and I would not be surprised if fairies or something live there. I have always wanted to go on a run across the Great Wall of China. That experience would be an absolute dream come true!
SCB: Do you have a specific pre-race routine?
AH: Before a race I always paint my toenails black, and I never do homework the day before or of a race. But my favorite pre-race routine is cheering with my team on the line just before the race starts. Nothing else gets me more pumped and ready to race!