After a successful opening weekend in Golden Gate Park at the USF Invitational, Santa Clara's cross country teams will host rival Saint Mary's on Fri., Sept. 6 at 9 am for a dual meet in Sunnyvale, Calif. at the Baylands Park – home of the Bronco Invitational on Sat., Oct. 19.
The Bronco teams are training down at New Brighton State Beach for a few days this week and SantaClaraBroncos.com caught up with Bronco head coach Felipe Montoro (FM) on Wednesday to talk about last weekend's race, this week's dual meet and what he is pleased with already.
SCU: Last week you ran at USF. It is traditionally a race for your more novice members. How do you feel it went? Pleased with the results?
FM: We were very pleased with our team's execution of the race plan. This year we took the meet more low key and really worked on pack running with both teams.
SCU: This Friday you have a dual meet with Saint Mary's at Baylands. How did this race come about? Something you have been planning or just the way the schedule worked out?
FM: Actually, it was assistant coach Pete Cushman's idea. We both really like the idea of head to head competition, and in cross country, that is very rare at the college level. Saint Mary's, being the traditional rival school, also thought it was a great idea. It provides another opportunity to compete, and it is something the average fan or parent can understand. People always want to know, "who won?". Most of the time in a big invitational, you could have a great race and finish fifth, but everyone understands the dual meet format.
SCU: The women return 5 of their top 7 this year. After a couple of weeks of training, is that experience working in their favor?
FM: Absolutely. This is the best women's team we have had since I have been working with the women. They are very fit, very focused and ready to take a step forward in terms of performance. I am really excited about their season.
SCU: The men return a number of talented runners, including Ben Demaree and Bryan Crook, who have fought the injury bug some the past couple of years. What are they doing to change that trend this fall?
FM: Both are extremely diligent with doing the little things to stay healthy, and we have altered their training slightly to try and get them on the line in the postseason healthy. Given their history of injury, we are going to be very cautious with them. Neither will be racing the dual meet. We are targeting Stanford for them to open their seasons. But really, our only focus with those two is to do whatever we need to in order for them to be on the postseason roster as close to 100% as possible. This year's men's team is very deep. Their absence in the early season will allow for younger runners to step up and prove they are ready to contribute. I am really looking forward to finding out who those guys will be.
SCU: This week the team took a training trip to New Brighton State Beach. Can you talk a little bit about this trip? Highlights? Where do you run?
FM: It is an annual camping trip we take to New Brighton State Beach. On Tuesday the men and women had a great workout in the Forest of Nicene Marks. Wednesday morning we ran along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific at Wilder Ranch State Park. It is a great opportunity bond with each other and of course, get some quality training in. Click here and check out the pictures we took!
SCU: After you run a dual meet against Saint Mary's, you will head next weekend down to the WCC Preview Meet in Malibu. What will you do to begin preparing for that meet this week?
FM: The dual meet race with SMC is the best preparation for the preview meet. For us, the preview meet marks the end of the preseason competition schedule, so we want to start the regular season off on the right foot and perform well in Malibu.