TX Milesplit Articles

Below are my articles from TX.Milesplit.com. These mostly consist of feature articles and Q&As.


Freshman phenom Helen Roddy reflects on HS XC so far

Helen Roddy is the second-fastest ranked freshman in the state, with a 5k PR of 18:08. Roddy trains with junior teammate Madie Boreman, 4:46 miler and 2x state champion, and teammate Haley Timmons. The three took 1st-3rd in the district, leading Rouse to a district championship for the first time in the 6A division. Roddy hopes to break 18 minutes for the season and medal at the state meet.
When did you first start running?
I first started running when I was seven years old.
What were your expectations coming into your freshman year of high school?
Coming into high school, I pretty much knew that it was going to be really competitive, especially since we moved into 6A.
What is it like to have a high caliber runner (Madie Boreman) on your team?
I really like running with Madie Boreman because she's a really experienced runner and was able to teach me a lot.  She's a really encouraging teammate, and really pushes you in practice.
What are your top goals for this cross country season?
My two top goals for this season is to break 18 and to place in state,
What are your longterm goals by the time you graduate high school?
My main goal by the time I graduate high school is to be able to Oregon State University.
What would you consider your greatest strength as a runner and the area you would like to most improve on?
My greatest strength is being able to challenge anyone I race, and I would like to work on keeping a strong pace throughout the whole race.
What is the best running advice you've ever recieved?
The best advice I've ever gotten is ''Some people in the world are going to try to stop you from reaching your goals, but don't let them stop you, They'll just make you better.''


Junior Abby Gray is the current 5A leader and has a best 5k time of 17:22 from the McNeil Invitational. She was third at the state championships in the 3200m with a PR of 10:53, and has a 1600m PR of 4:57. Gray is on fire this season, consistently dropping times as well as running 3 sub-18 5ks in a row.
 How did you first get started in running?
Gray: My first 3rd grade Mile Run at my elementary school.
What are your top goals for this cross country season?

Gray: Nike Nationals, Footlocker Nationals and 1st at State.
What would you consider as your greatest strength as a runner and the area that you would like to most improve upon?
Gray: I think my greatest strength is my ability to keep a pace for a certain amount of miles. The area I would most like to improve on is my finish.
What would you pick was your top running achievement so far and why?
Gray: Running a 17:22 at the McNeil Meet, because it gave me more confidence for the next time I run on that course.
You improve significantly from season to season. What has led to such drastic improvement?
Gray: Staying focused on my goals, staying mentally strong while racing, putting in the work during the summer and watching what things I eat.
Do you feel extra pressure being ranked 1st in all of 5A?
Gray: Not really, because although being ranked number 1 in 5A is exciting at the moment, nothing is official until everyone races at the State meet.
What would winning the state championships mean to you?
Gray: Winning a State championship would mean the world to me and is definitely a top goal for the rest of my high school running career.
Did you have any setbacks or disappointments your sophomore year, and if so what did you learn from them?
Gray: Yes, one major setback to me was being mentally unprepared at last years state cross country meet, but looking back on that experience I think it made me a stronger and more confident runner.
What's the best running advice you've ever gotten?
Gray: The best running advice I've ever gotten was to "Run for those who don't have the ability to." 

Q&A with Klein Oak senior Erica Moorhead, who hopes to make it to state after major improvement over the summer. Moorhead dropped over a minute in the 3 mile, going from 20:06 to 18:43. Moorhead also posted track times of 11:38 for the 3200 & 5:21 for the 1600.
How did you first get started in running?
Moorhead: I joined a running club in elementary school and ran a few small races but I didn't get hooked until I started racing at the middle school level. 
What kind of mileage have you been putting in early on in the season?
Moorhead: During the summer I was running around 55-65 miles a week but during school it's closer to 50-60 mile a week.  
Last year you had a PR of 20:06 for 3 miles, and recently you crushed that, running 18:43. What has led you to improve so significantly?
Moorhead: I believe that the increased mileage helped me out a ton and the fact that I'm having fun and enjoying racing again. 
Being in the same district as Kingwood, The Woodlands and College Park, what is it like having to compete against such high caliber schools?
Moorhead: It's amazing to race against such talented girls almost every week and watching girls like Sandie Raines, Madi McLellan, and Abby Guidry constantly improve and dominate always inspires me to do my best. 
What are your goals for this season?
Moorhead: My main goal is to enjoy every meet and hopefully make it to the state meet! 
Which meets have you gone to so far? Which one was your favorite?
Moorhead: We've only run two meets so far, the Spring Invitational and Friday Night Lights. My favorite so far has been Friday Night Lights because it was crazy to be in the top ten! 
What would you consider as your greatest strength as a runner and the area that you would like to most improve upon?
Moorhead: I think my greatest strength is my determination to overcome any obstacle and situation that gets in my way. However I'd like to improve on my flexibility and eating habits.
What are some goals you’d like to achieve before graduating high school? 
Moorhead: Before I graduate I want to get into my dream school (Rice), enjoy this last year with my family and friends, sign to run collegiately, and run 15 miles straight in honor of graduating in 2015.
What's the best running advice you've ever gotten?
Moorhead: It would have to be that your mentality is more than half the battle when you're racing, and that soda isn't the best recovery drink after a workout.
(From USA Milesplit)

Though the Great Oak boys didn't qualify for Nike Cross Nationals last year and placed 8th at the California state meet, the track times produced by the returnees have to translate into something good for their team. Last track season the boys had 7 returnees under 10 minutes in the 3200, led by Nick Doan at 9:05 and two others under 9:30. That same group of 7 all ran under 4:30 in the 1600, once again led by Nick Doan at 4:11. Despite the team's disappointing end to the past XC season, they still had 5 guys post 3 mile times just around 15 minutes with only a 20 second spread. This XC season should be a good one for the Great Oak boys.
Boys Top 7 Returnees Times : 3M XC
Great Oak High School (SS) (CA)
1) Robbie Gleeson 14:51.00
2) Tony Robinson 14:53.00
3) Nicholas Doan 15:04.00
4) David Carvajal 15:06.00
5) Cole Spencer 15:11.00
Average Time: 15:01.00 Total Time: 1:15:05.00 1-5 Split: 20.00
6) Anthony Arvizu 15:20.10
7) Anthony Arvizu 15:20.10

1. How many years have you been coaching high school cross country (and at your current school)?
I have been at Great Oak since we opened in 2004 and this will be my 15th season as a head XC/Track Coach.
2. What do you attribute as the main reasons for the success of your program?
There are many reasons we have been able to find success as a program. The first being that we live in an incredible area where academics and athletics are a focus in most households and athletes for the most part are supported and allowed to focus on their athletics over jobs and babysitting siblings.
The second reason is we have amazing kids that work extremely hard to develop in our program. We have it set up that anyone who wants to work hard and develop can work their way to the top. We have been consistent at being one of the top teams in CA since 2009, and a lot of that is due to kids working hard year round and us being able to develop runners to go along with the usual talented kids we all get. The one thing that has set us apart at State has been the developed superstars in our program, the ones that didn’t start there, but developed there over time.
3. What would be the best way to describe your style and philosophy of coaching and working with high school runners?
I would classify myself as a competitor and I try to teach that to the kids. I am probably on the more aggressive side of things in trying to find ways to improve our program each year and so far we have been successful at doing that.  Coach Dan Noble is our other varsity coach and he puts a heavy emphasis on core and strength for injury prevention and overall ability. The philosophy we focus on is developing aerobic based athletes over their 4 years of high school that have learned to compete against the best in the country, and to be ready to run in college from the time they step onto their school’s campus.  When they get to college they need to learn how to run faster recovery paces and add weights and that is about it. Very rarely do athletes out of our program struggle with the workouts in college.
4. What are your core beliefs in your training plan and workouts for your cross country squads?
We really try to set up a system that focuses on all the aspects of training. We do speed ladders and sprints regularly and focus on athleticism a lot. Ultimately our training plan is geared around building aerobic athletes that have no issue with the 5k distance. We do 11 workouts a week, each with a focus on core, aerobic development, hill strength, speed, Vo2 Max, Lactate Threshold. I think the most important thing is placing your athletes in the correct training level group and giving them the opportunity to work their way up to the varsity.
5. How many runners do you return from your top 7 from a year ago?
We return 4 boys from a 12th place state finish a year ago.  We usually have a pretty strong frosh-soph group to draw from each year so some of our best athletes this season weren’t in our top 7 last season.
6. Who is your projected top 7 heading into the cross country season?
This is tough for us because we have many great athletes at various phases so it will change quite a bit over time as one of our top boys Robbie Gleeson is coming back from a soccer injury that was unable to heal because of running. He should be back in the varsity line up by Mt. SAC.
7. Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?
We have 6 boy captains each season. On the boys side Isaac Cortes and Nick Doan have stepped up to lead the team this year with their examples of hard work, focus, and dedication.
8. Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?
On the boys side Isaac Cortes has made huge strides in XC this year. He has always been a great track guy, but this year he has really made the jump in XC as well and is leading all of our workouts and pushing guys that are top end runners. He ran 1:52 last year as a 10th grader and he has grown and gotten stronger and looks pretty effortless right now. I’m excited to see him all out.  He has run 15:11 for 5k so far this summer.
9. Any impactful freshmen or transfers to join the team this season?
On the boys side Jr. Spencer Dodds moved up from San Diego after his dad got a job in Temecula. He is a top tier runner and will help our boys team a lot!  He ran 4:21 last year in the 1600 as a soph.
10. What are the top invitational meets that your team will be attending this season?
We will be running some big meets this season.  Woodbridge, Nike Pre Nationals, Clovis, and Mt. SAC are all on our schedule this season. We are fortunate that we can rest our top varsity squads for most of our league schedule which allows us to focus on the bigger meets to help prepare them for the end of the season.
11. What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
We have a pretty loaded group that could run some impressive marks at State if it were held today so I think the biggest challenge on both sides is just keeping the teams healthy and focused all the way to November. They are anxious to race and show what they can do and we don’t want to explode out of the gates and limp to the finish.
12. What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?
I think the biggest reason for success this season will be leadership. If our captains can push their teammates to give their all for the team, I believe we will have a very successful season on both sides. Without leadership it is very hard to keep all the kids on the same path.
13. What is a favorite annual or common pre-season workout or run for your team?
The highlight at the beginning of the season is our time trial.  We use this as a camp qualifier, with the top 12 or top 16 athletes (depending on the camp location) earning a spot to camp. This motivates athletes to go out over the summer and work hard so they get to go to camp. It is always fun to see what you have as a coach and who has made those big jumps.
14. What is a favorite annual or common mid-season workout for your team?
We start our blend intervals in mid season and continue them through to the end of the season ever couple of weeks.  It is a workout I stole from one of the runner magazines but it works great!
An example is 3x2000@race pace, 2 min jog, 200m @ mile pace,4 min jog between sets. It is fast yet difficult to recover so it gets harder over the course of time. Great multispeed workout. The distances get shorter every other week, but faster.
15. What is a favorite annual or common championship season or end-of-season workout for your team?
One of the kids favorite workouts that we do during championship season is drop out mile repeats on a hilly dirt course we use. They get 3 minutes rest between each one and the athlete determines when to drop out. It is always interesting to see when an athlete will drop out when they have the choice to do so and how many kids will not drop out no matter what. It is a great workout to see who is mentally dialed in for the championship races.
16. What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?
The athlete’s set the goals for the season each year. The boys goals are to win Woodbridge Invite, win State, and to podium at NXN. I firmly believe that goals must come from the athletes if they are going to work hard enough to achieve them.

Vandegrift brings back winning team


Vandegrift is the fastest girl's returning 5A team, led by twins Natalie & Loren Goddard who posted times of 19:10 & 19:18 as freshmen. The varsity team has a strong group of girls, all with 5k times ranging within less than a minute of each other. The Vandegrift girl's team was last year's Region IV Champions, and finished 10th in the state. 
Vandegrift (TX)161
 1) Natalie Goddard 19:10.00
 2) Loren Goddard 19:18.50
 3) Nikki Keys 19:31.20
 4) Taylor Grikis 19:38.00
 5) Madie Ibrahim 19:50.90
 Average Time: 19:29.72 Total Time: 1:37:28.60 1-5 Split: 40.90
 6) Lexi Vukelic 19:53.40
 7) Sydney Prucha 20:08.20
What makes getting 1st in the region, 10th in the state and having seven sub-20 5k runners even more impressive? Having all seven varsity runners return to the 2014 cross country season. Vandegrift’s girls’ team last season consisted of six underclassmen and one junior, all of which will be coming back faster and stronger than before. With the whole varsity team returning, Vandegrift gets an advantage most other teams don’t have.
“My freshman year the varsity team was made up of mostly seniors, and losing them all was hard because we essentially had to rebuild our talent back up,” said varsity and senior captain Nikki Keys.
The team won’t have to worry about restoring any talent this season, and instead can aim their focus on their main goal; medaling at the state meet.
“I have no doubt that our girls can take the medal stand at state, or better yet even the title, but we will have to go to work, believe in each other, and do more than the competition both mentally and physically,” said Coach Kevin Helm.
The JV team holds their own with a goal of bringing everyone under 21 minutes, a time that would earn a spot on most school’s varsity teams.
Many factors contribute to Vandegrift’s success, starting with Keys’ leadership.
“Our girls have really come together, and our captains have taken more control of the team than in years past.  Nikki sets high expectations while being a good teammate to all of the girls,” said Helm.
Another component includes learning from the best; when Helm coached a small private school in 1998, he spent time studying Steve Telaneus (Marcus) and Jerry Sutterfield’s (Highland Park) coaching styles.
“These guys have been at the top so many times, and I really respect the job they do.  Like runners, coaches try to learn from the best as well.  There are so many good coaches and great cross-country programs across the state; I am so fortunate to have the opportunity of being a cross-country coach and sharing in the joy of running with kids,” Helm said.
Finally, the most significant attribute to the team’s success is the relationship built among the teammates.
“We start with a strong nucleus of individuals who are willing to build relationships and community within the program while ensuring a fun and successful atmosphere,” said Helm. “Simply, we will run faster because our teammates depend and care for each other.  From top to bottom, everyone is important, and everyone will be a good teammate.”
The team is looking forward to a season of new challenges, including competing in two new meets: Southlake Invitational and Nike South, as well as making connections with runners from across the state.
“I've seen many of our kids hanging out and sharing more with other kids from other teams after their races.  While we want to beat our competition, we are still a community of runners. If we work hard, share, and have fun, the success will come,” said Helm.

Abby Guidry battles her way to the top


Rising junior Abby Guidry, 18:23 5k runner & 5:01 miler, looks to medal at state meet and qualify for NXN. Guidry hopes to redeem herself from a disappointing end to track season due to illness
Q&A with Kingwood High School rising junior Abby Guidry
How did you first get started in running?
Guidry: Several things led me to become a distance runner. Beginning in elementary school, I took an interest in distance because I really enjoyed running around the track in P.E. and I hoped to continue running once I reached middle school. In middle school, I trained for a half marathon with my dad and took part in both the track and cross country programs, and I was hooked.
What kind of mileage and summer training have you been putting in over the last few months
GuidryI have been running between 45 and 50 miles a week this summer and I have been doing some cross training, such as swimming and biking. 
What are your top goals for the upcoming cross country season?
Guidry: I would say my biggest goals for this upcoming season are to help my team return to the podium at the Texas State Championships, and to qualify as a team for Nike Cross Nationals. I also want to grow as a competitor so that I can achieve these goals alongside my team and work as hard as I can to contribute as much as possible. 
What would you consider as your greatest strength as a runner and the area that you would like to most improve upon?
Guidry: I would most like to improve on my speed at the end of races and during surges. I feel that I perform better in longer distance races so distance is probably my greatest strength as a runner. 
What would you pick was your top running achievement so far and why?
Guidry: I would say that Kingwood's 2nd place finish at the 2012 State Meet is probably my top running achievement, because my whole team was set on medaling all season and achieving that goal was incredibly rewarding. Realizing that all our hard work had truly paid off was one of the greatest feelings in the world. 
What was the toughest or best workout that you have ever completed?
Guidry: The toughest (and best) workout that I have ever completed is called Owen Anderson and it is a series of strength workouts in between runs on the track, followed by a fast paced mile at the end, two times. My team does this workout a few times each year, but one time in particular it felt like my strongest and best workout yet. 
You were just one spot away from medaling at the XC State Championships. What would it mean to you to make the top 10 in the state?
Guidry: Finishing 11th was definitely disappointing because my goal all season was to finish in the top 10, however it drove me to work even harder so I can perform better this upcoming season, and my senior year as well. Finishing in the top 10 would definitely be exciting and I hope to achieve that this year. 
Did you have any setbacks or disappointments your sophomore year, and if so what did you learn from them?
Guidry: I got sick before the Regional Track Meet this year, and I knew I would have to be at my best to qualify for the State Meet. Although I was one spot away from qualifying, I learned that things will happen that are out of my control and I just need to remain optimistic, move on, and set new goals for the future. 

Kingwood is a phenomenal team, how do your teammates and your coach influence your running?
Guidry: Running alongside such awesome athletes these past two years has been incredibly motivational. Seeing others succeed around me keeps me striving for new goals and has shown me that anything is possible. I also put a lot of trust in my coach and have been very fortunate to be on her team considering her past successes. 
What's the best running advice you've ever gotten?
Guidry: The best running advice I've ever gotten is that recovery is incredibly important. Making sure I get enough sleep and eating enough after my runs are crucial factors that contribute to my recovery and overall performance as a runner. Without the proper recovery, workouts could start to break me down rather than make me stronger, so it's important that I take it into account at all times.

Southlake Carroll owes success to Coach Leonard


The Southlake Carroll boys and girls teams both won their third state title in a row at last year's UIL State Championships. The boys were led by senior Jacob Pickle, who placed 2nd individually, and sophomore Antigone Archer led the girls team with an individual 5th place finish. The teams went on to qualify for Nike Cross Nationals, where the boys team placed 14th and the girls team placed 17th against the top running schools in the nation.
Southlake Carroll has undoubtedly one of the best cross country programs in Texas. Though they’ve been achieving great success since the 1980s, the arrival of their coach, Justin Leonard, in 2005 brought the team to a whole new level. Since Leonard’s commitment to the team, Southlake Carroll has won six 5A state XC championships, nine regional championships, twelve district championships, qualified for nine trips to NXN, won two NXN awards for top team in the nation, and compiled a total of 28 individual state medalists and 28 Division 1 runners.
“The first key to our success starts with the runners themselves and the commitment they put into the sport. The runners also need to develop an "all in" mentality.  This basically means that they are going to set a goal and be willing to do everything within their power to try and reach it and not be concerned with what others think or say,” said Leonard.
But with all success comes challenges. In 2009, the boy’s team failed to live up to previous standards and didn’t qualify for the regional meet. The team used their disappointment as a learning experience, and devoted their time to train for a better following season.
“My proudest moment was in 2010 when the boy’s team was state runner up,” said Leonard. “After not making the regional meet the previous season, the turnaround in one year was fun to watch and be a part of.”
The team is looking forward to a season of success and improvement.
“Our goal for the 2014 season is to be the best team we can be and maximize our own potential,” said Leonard. “We are most looking forward to the District, Regionals and State meets.”

The girl’s team will be led by rising junior Antigone Archer, who finished 5th at the 2013 XC State Championships. Archer credits Leonard with her team’s success, and is grateful for the passion for running she has developed thanks to her coach.
“Coach Leonard has been a dream come true for our team. Waking up early every day to go out and run with my team is never forced-each day is a gift and a pleasure to be with them. Our Coach always says that there’s no magic potion for success, just hard work, so from the start we are focused on our goal and go out and train each day like it’s our last,” Archer said.
Ultimately, the team wants to defend their 2013 state titles, but won’t be relying on previous victories to get them there.
“Each year we have a completely new team, and we can’t depend on what has happened in the past. All we can do is worry about this year and we are focused on winning state for 2014,” Archer said.

4A Cross Country State Champion & 3200/1600m State Champion Carter Blunt is the fastest returning cross country runner in Texas. With PRs of 4:14 (1600), 9:03 (3200) and 14:57 (5k) as a sophomore, Blunt aims to defend his state titles and qualify for trips to NXN and Foot Locker Nationals. 
Three state titles, a 14:57 5k and a 9:03 3200. All as a sophomore. Carter Blunt is the one to beat this upcoming cross country season.
Blunt made his debut in 8th grade, as he watched his brother run high school cross country and decided to follow in his footsteps. Unaware of his potential, Blunt had low expectations as he entered his freshman year of high school.
“At the beginning of the years my goal was to qualify for regionals, but I noticed improvement and decided to change my goal towards making it to state.” Blunt met his goal after finishing 4th in his regional meet, and continued on his path to success by qualifying for state in the 1600 & 3200 during track season.
After his freshman year, Blunt was hungry for more. Blunt shifted his focus from qualifying for state to winning state.
“It was the goal that I had been working for since the day after my track meet my freshman year. I knew that there was going to be strong competition and a couple of guys that also had a chance, but every state meet I came into I raced to win.”
Blunt’s determination led him to win the 4A State Cross Country Championships, 3200m Championships and 1600m Championships. Once Blunt let go of the self-imposed stress of winning, he was able to deliver phenomenal results.
“A huge shift that I found that really changed me as a runner was stress. Through all of my races I would put so much pressure on myself. After a few tough meets, I decided to not put so much pressure on myself and suddenly my times started to drop and it really helped me throughout track.”
While it may seem Blunt has already reached the highest point, he continues to raise the standards and set bigger goals for himself.
“My goals for this season are to win state again, and compete to earn a time that would win in the 6A division as well as 5A. I want to qualify for NXN and Foot Locker, and get my mile time down low enough to qualify for the Adidas Dream Mile.”
Blunt missed out qualifying for NXN last year after running in tough conditions against big-time competitors.
“Last year I feel like I didn’t have the best race I could have had, but I feel like I have really grown as a runner and can’t wait to see if I can earn a spot and go to Oregon.”
Blunt doesn’t let the extra pressure of defending his state titles affect him-“I think a little pressure is good and it pushes me in my runs and workouts.” With a summer of quality training, including cross-training for a triathlon, and big goals in mind, Blunt will be a tough one to compete with next year. 

Pedro Nasta trains for success & victorious senior year


Rising senior Pedro Nasta, 15:36 5k runner & 4:16 miler, speaks about his summer training and gearing up for cross country season, as well as past challenges and future goals.
How did you first get started in running?
Nasta: I got started running the summer of seventh grade in order to get fit for soccer, but fell in love with running instead.
What kind of mileage and summer training have you been putting in over the last few months?
Nasta: This summer I have been running around 50 to 60 miles a week and attended a high altitude running camp in the Rockies: Team Prep Rocky Mountain XC camp. I've been hitting the core pretty hard and trying to stay hydrated in this heat.
What do you consider to be your greatest strength as a runner and the area you would most like to improve upon?
Nasta: My greatest strength as a runner is that I run smart, unfortunately that can also be a weakness for I tend to be too conservative at times. My goal this year is to just go for it.
You run for John Cooper, a private school in the Southern Preparatory Conference. Do you wish you could compete at the state-level against other highly ranked competitors?
Nasta: I do wish I could run 5A state with the big dogs, however I love my coach and teammates and would not change them for the world.
Talk a bit about last year's Nike South race. Do you hope to qualify for NXN your senior year?
Nasta: At last year’s Nike South invitational I blew up completely, however, I harnessed that negative experience and used it to fuel the rest of my season. For NXR I was in the race through the mile however a training injury forced me to stop. This year will be different, I'm a man on a mission.
What are your top goals for the upcoming cross country season?
Nasta: This season the biggest goal is to stay healthy. Time wise I would like to get into the low 15's, win most of my races, win SPC (Southern Preparatory Conference) and make Nike Nationals.
What are your plans for college?
Nasta: For college I would like to run at a division 1 program that has the right balance between academics and athletics.

Rising junior Madie Boreman, 2x State Champion & 4A 1600m record-holder, reflects on her sophomore year, pressure of living up to high expectations from freshman year and goals for the upcoming cross country season.
“The freshman makes the pass!” shouts the commentator as Madie Boreman outkicks her competition in the final stretch of the 1600, setting a new 4A state record of 4:48 and earning a ticket to the Adidas Dream Mile. That was the 2013 Texas State Track Meet, when Boreman was just 14 years old.
This early success wasn’t new to Boreman, as she ran a 5:06 mile, 18:13 5k and 38:58 10k at the ripe age of 11, often claiming women’s overall titles at local road races.
“It was weird to be successful against people who understood the sport more than I did. When I was young I had no idea what winning state, a simple road race, or the Olympics meant.”
Even with her remarkable talent, Boreman was not yet ready to face the older competition.
“Before freshman year, people would talk to me after races and ask if I was looking forward to high school and the competition. I would say yes, but I was scared and intimidated by seniors and older girls.”
Boreman had nothing to fret however as she left freshman year with two state titles, All-American status at NXN, and a trip to the Adidas Dream Mile where she set her own personal record of 4:46. These accomplishments meant Boreman would have to live up to high expectations for sophomore year, and the pressure of delivering quality results took a toll on her performances.
“The pressure was overwhelming and it would show in most races.”
Though Boreman had a handful of decent races sophomore year including Nike South and the regional track and cross country meets, she was unable to defend her state titles and set new personal records.
“After my state track performance I sat down and talked to an amazing coach, Steve Sisson. I realized that mentally I need to let go and just run my race. I had the potential in practices but it wouldn’t show in races.”
Another difficult aspect of Boreman’s sophomore year was her decision to play soccer for her school team (Rouse). The team made it to the finals of the regional play-offs, causing the soccer season to run longer into track season than previously planned.
“There was one week during season where I had a playoff game Tuesday, districts on Wednesday and Thursday, and I left right after the mile on Thursday to drive to Corpus for a regional playoff tournament.”
While Boreman admits soccer was unhelpful to her track season, she is glad she took the opportunity to play for her school team.
“Soccer this year was amazing and I don’t regret any part of it. I’m glad I got to experience one last season with a fun team like I had.”
Boreman considers her sophomore year to be a learning experience, and looks forward to the upcoming season.
“Junior year I have no pressure and no expectations, which will work to my advantage and I plan to mentally push through every workout and race.”
Cross country season holds loads of excitement starting with the Rouse vs. Vandegrift pre-season showdown. Boreman plans for Rouse to take back the victory, claiming “this upcoming cross country season will be full of surprises from both girls and boys Rouse XC teams.” Boreman also hopes to lead the girl’s team to regionals and state, despite being bumped to 6A next year which will call for bigger and greater competition.
Ultimately, Boreman owes her success to the “endless support from my family, coach and team” and hopes to make junior year one to remember.

Julia Heymach, rising sophomore and 2013 5A Cross Country State Runner-Up, reflects on her first year of high school running and goals for the upcoming cross country season which will be a new chapter for her after transfering to Lamar High School in Houston over the summer. Her new team will receive a huge boost in Heymach who was the highest-ranked freshman cross country runner of 2013 in Texas, with a 5k PR of 17:36. Milesplit had the opportunity to interview the sub-5 miler and 10:46 3200m runner as she preps for this fall's season of races.
How did you first get started in running? 
Heymach: I played softball until through 3rd grade, and running the bases was one of my favorite parts of the sport. The team nicknamed me Speedy, and I decided to enroll in a summer track club nearby in 4th grade. I loved track from my very first season and stayed with it ever since. 
What did you expect coming into freshman year as far as competition and how competitive you were compared to other high school runners? 
Heymach: Having only run with my age group in summer track, I realized  that going into high school would be a big leap. I knew that as a 5A school in Texas, the meets Manvel HS attended- especially the state meets-  would be incredibly competitive, and that I would be running against nationally ranked girls. But I have looked forward to those races the most; I always learn from my competitors and they drive me to work as hard as I can. 
What would you consider as your greatest strength as a runner and the area that you would like to most improve upon?
Heymach: I have a good mix of leg speed and endurance, which makes me a pretty versatile runner, but I need to build upon my endurance to become more competitive with the top girls in the state. Before high school, I did mostly interval training so freshman year we built up my mileage very slowly and kept it on the low side so I wouldn't get injured. I hope that as my training load increases a bit each year, I will be able to push my pace further.
What would you pick as your top running achievement so far and why? 
Heymach: The New Balance Indoors Emerging Elite 2 mile was an incredible race for me, because it highlighted how I've grown as a runner over the years. The other girls in the race were fast, but I just focused on running the times I knew I could, and then gave it my all near the end of the race. I prepared well, stuck to a strategy, and carried it out. I ended up with a PR and a national award that I'm proud of.  
What was the toughest or best workout that you have ever completed? 
Heymach: This past track season I've done many workouts to build up my aerobic threshold, and many repeat miles or 800s at a certain pace. One of the most grueling workout I've done was four repeat 800s at 2:25. 
Looking back at your track season, you started off with a victory at the New Balance Emerging Elite 2 mile, and ended with 6th and 7th place finishes at the state meet. Were you disappointed at all with your end-of-season performances, or happy with the overall outcome?
Heymach: The end of the season may not have gone as well as planned, but I do feel accomplished for the work I put in during track season, and my performances in other races. I understand that races don't always unfold as you hoped they would, and there are so many variables and conditions that can affect you on a given day. It's hard to predict how your body will react to different types and levels of training, which is one of the hardest parts of running. It seemed like I peaked a little earlier on in the season, but I will use this as a learning experience and motivation for next year. 
What kind of mileage and summer training have you been putting in over the last few months?
Heymach: After State I took a break for a couple of weeks to focus on recovering from my first year of high school running. I ran an easy three miles every couple of days, but just began to train consistently again. My main goal for the summer is to pick up my mileage to build a strong base for the upcoming season- Hopefully I will improve a lot this season, through a combination of more intensive endurance training and speed workouts. 
What is your season schedule of races and which meets are you most looking forward to? 
Heymach: I am not sure. I just moved from Pearland to Houston so I will be attending a new school (Lamar High School) and don't know our race schedule yet.
What are your top goals for the upcoming cross country season?
Heymach: Throughout the season, I want to improve my times, even though different courses vary considerably.  I would love to qualify for either Nike or Foot Locker, and place in the top 3 at state. And I am always eager for the experience cross country brings, especially in terms of pacing and race strategy. 
Last year you were the cross country state runner-up. What would it mean to you to be the 2014 cross country state champion?
Heymach: Winning the state championship would be huge, particularly considering that there are several girls who performed really well during the track season who have a good shot at it. I would also be happy to be one of the top girls again, as long as I improved from last year and am healthy; The bigger picture is important to me,  I am not just concerned about the outcome of the current season, but in improving over my entire high school career. I don't want to burn out by training harder that my body is ready for. Hopefully I will come out even stronger this season than I did the last, and I am excited for the opportunities that the upcoming cross country season brings.

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