Last blog before the big day, can’t believe it’s finally here! Good luck to everybody tomorrow. Remember all those miles you’ve run and the sacrifices you’ve had to make to get to this day. Enjoy your time out there, we’re all extremely lucky to be able to do this.
I took some time to sit down with the Lady Wolverines today to interview them about their season and the nationals experience.
What song would describe your team? Out Here Grindin’- DJ Khalid . Ever since our freshman year, it’s been our fantasy to get to the line and just grind in the air to this song.
Is there any quote you can think of that describes y’all as a group?- Be Frantic but not in a Frenzy.
You are both here as true freshmen, do you feel you were able to jump on and contribute to the team right away? Did you expect to be on varsity this year? What are some things you’ve learned from your upperclassmen teammates?
Ellen- It’s been an amazing experience, the girls and coach Mike are just so awesome and I can’t believe that I’m here. No, I didn’t even expect to be running in college at all, I wasn’t very good in high school. We’ve learned everything from our upperclassmen. I’ve learned from them that life is a balance between running, school, and fun.
Brook- I knew I wasn’t planning to redshirt, but I’ve learned that college running is a lot harder than I thought it’d be, the races are more overwhelming, and what I thought was training hard wasn’t, I was wrong. It’s taught me what I want to do next summer to prepare better, and I think the biggest thing I learned is that you’ll do your best in xc when you let your teammates help you rather than just thinking you’re out there on your own. I’ve learned that tomorrow I need to go out there and focus on running as hard as I can for my team.
You two are the only two freshmen on the travel squad, tell me how thats been:
Ellen- Brook lets me borrow her clothes. We like to snuggle, sometimes. We have a telapathic connection. Brook has this problem where she has this foot fungus and I help her clean it before every race.
Brook- We’ve been roommates every meet and I feel like we’ve gotten closer each week. I feel like at the beginning of the year we were really competitive with each other and now I feel like we are so much closer and better friends. We’re always there for each other and we understand each other really really well. One day Ellen came in and I could tell she was mad, she didn’t want to admit it at first. But she did. She was mad the woman wouldn’t give her any cereal.
NCAA crushes?- Brook- Reed Connor. Ellen- Zach Ornelas (haha Posada you Mexican)
SOPHOMORES (Freshmen eligibility)
I’m in the same boat as y’all with this being my first NCAA Nationals experience, how has it been for you so far?
Megan Weschler- So far it has been pretty chill, fun, and it’s been a good bonding experience. I think it will be a big eye-opener tomorrow when I’m at the course and cheering on my 7 hawt ladies, as well as the handsome young mens team. Shout outs to the Columbia guys and good luck to everyone.
Taylor Pogue- Big 10 freshman of the year. That’s pretty cool. How did it feel to win that award: I was very surprised, it felt good to be recognized and have my hard work noticed.
3rd Time’s the Charm (Juniors)
Becca- indoor all american, 4 time all big 10, cat enthusiast.
This is the highest you all have been ranked since you’ve been here: what do you think has made the difference this year?
Two major factors have been Taylor Pogue and Meg Weshler. In addition, the upperclassmen have gotten a lot stronger this year and the newcomers (Brook and Ellen) came at a high level and prepared. We have a good team dynamic so the newcomers were able to more easily learn to do things right away. The atmosphere is great on the team.
Jill- 7 time all big 10, all american indoor, New Jersey lover
It’s your third time here as well, what do you think made the difference in your opinion?-
The difference is in leadership, great seniors like Jill and MG, and we definitely have a better team dynamic. We’re all a lot closer and I think that allows us to compete for each other rather than just individually and we do better individually because of that. It’s a good experience for the freshmen and for us since we haven’t had the experience being ranked this high before.
Danielle was a high school teammate of yours before coming here, how has that helped?- It eased the transition for me a ton, the comfort level of having somebody who I had trained with who was excelling with a whole new program and coach was very comforting.
How has your time been in Terre Haute so far, any fun activities?
We looked forward to this trip all season, because we get to spend 4 days straight with each other in a hotel. Since there’s not that much we can do (via racing) we have to think of ways to entertain ourselves such as making up dances in our Adidas vests and painting our nails to match the vests. We also have enjoyed walking across the field to walmart, and videotaping ourselves to make a movie. It will be PG. We also like to go out to dinner extrememely early, be at the course extremely early, and the banquet. We just like being early. (Mike likes being early). Spoiler alert, we’ll be eating dinner early in our matching vests at 5:27pm sharp tonight (Mike likes to be early, if you’re not 3 minutes early you’ll be late) Vests to impress!!
The Seniors: THE LAST TIME OUT
Danielle this is your 4th trip to the NCAA XC Championships. Can you give any advice to the runners tomorrow? What have you learned and how are you going to use your previous experiences to race tomorrow?
Danielle- I think at this meet it’s really easy to be overwhelmed and kind of get lost in the nubmers of people and the people on the sidelines, one thing ive learned is you have to stay relaxed and not get flustered by the amount of people cheering and in the race. Another thing is with this course it’s really easy to get out too hard and a little too ambitiously and I think with the terrain on this course it really does beat you up a little bit if you go out too hard. Tomorrow I’m going to run a little bit more conservatively and try to work with my teammates and be more concerned about doing my part to help my teammates and to motivate them to keep pushing.
You’ve been one of the team leaders for a while. The girls really look up to you. You’ve had your fair share of ups and downs, what messages have you tried to convey to your teammates this year, having been there and done that?
I think I’d like to send the message that it’s important to create that balance with your teammates to have a competitive atmosphere in practice while working together. I feel like it’s improved a lot since my freshman year and hopefully I contributed to that. I’ve tried to give the girls advice and tips for each race that we’ve gone into. Not just for the race itself but also for making that transition from high school to college. When I was a freshman I was putting girls on pedestals and getting really flustered from the depth at the front and everybody around me. I know a lot of the girls coming in aren’t used to that and I think that’s something we’ve worked on in practice with a lot of girls pushing around each other. We’ve also worked on trying to stay relaxed in the big settings and I try to reinforce their confidence.
Favorite athlete- Apollo Anton Ono and David Beckham (he’s gorgeous). And Kerron Clemont, he’s like a model.
Like Danielle this is your 4th time out here at the NCAA championships. What have you learned from the previous experiences and what advice have you given to the underclassmen?
Every year the experience has been entirely different. My freshman year I became the alternate by chance when a few people became injured late in the season, so I was pretty wide-eyed about the whole thing and just happy to tag along. This year as a senior, it’s fun to come in here ranked 10th and have a lot of momentum carrying us forward. NCAAs requires a different type of pack running then you’ll find anywhere in the season, and if you’re not ready for that it can catch you off guard. My biggest advice for the underclassmen was just to be aware of your surroundings and not allow yourself to settle. The number of people immediately around you can be overwhelming if you let it (but they’ll do great!)
I asked the girls how you and Danielle have helped them in both running and off the course, what has it felt like being a leader and what kind of example have you tried to set for your teammates?
For me as a leader, I think I’m best able to contribute to the team in a lot of the behind the scenes stuff. As a runner, I’m pretty solidly in the second wave, but that’s important too because someone from that pack will ultimately be the 5th man. My biggest impact I think has been on trying to help foster good team chemistry and keep things running smoothly. Overall though, I just care a lot about my teammates, this program, and this school. The best example I can set is to be passionate about the things I do and hope that it’s infectious
With this being Danielle and Mary Grace’s last NCAA’s, can I get some quotes on how they have helped you over the past few years?:
Meg Wesch-Danielle- always like a big sister and watching out for and supporting everyone
Becca- Mary Grace was my host when I was a senior, I feel like we have that special bond, it’s going to be weird when she’s not here. Danielle, like, cares.
Lindsey- It won’t be the same when they’re gone, they’re an integral part of this top 9
T-Pogue- They’re both people that will be remembered for a long time on our team. They’re like institutions
Ellen- Danielle is just so down to earth and so motivating. I was a little bit hurt earlier in the season and she was so encouraging the whole time. She always has really good advice. And Mary Grace is really organized and goal oriented and that has a good influence on us.
Brook- The best thing about Danielle is how happy she is all the time, she’s positive and really cheerful. I like how Mary Grace is everybody’s biggest fan, she’s really good about making sure we have everything together apart from xc.
Running with the Wolverines:
The trial of miles, miles of trials are over. Good races and bad races are in the past. It all comes down to tomorrow, nothing else matters. Tomorrow is our chance to take advantage of the opportunities we’ve been given, and damnit, we’re going to give ‘em hell.