Women's Cross Country Media Day Transcript

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Natalie Bower speaks to the media at Fall Sports Media Day.

Aug. 22, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Seniors Lindsey Graybill (Macungie, Pa.), Natalie Bower (Pleasant Unity, Pa.) and Brooklyne Ridder (Cincinnati, Ohio) met with members of the media on Wednesday.

Lindsey Graybill
Senior

Q: How are things looking at this point?
A: Pretty good. Our team together, I think, we have some good chemistry going already, which is definitely a good thing at this point. It's our first day of preseason and so far things are looking good.

Q: Do you have a good feeling coming off a 13th-place finish in the NCAA championships last year?
A: Yeah, definitely. I think a lot of the girls are ready to step up too. It's going to be a different year with different people in the scoring range but it's going to be really good with everyone pushing each other.

Q: What did you do this summer? Did you compete on your own?
A: Basically I think we try to focus more on the training part of it because we're a three-season sport so we race a lot all year round. Here and there you might do a road race but basically you're focused on getting your mileage up.

Q: Is that tough to take a week or two off after you're used to running high mileage every week?
A: I think definitely after track we get a good break in for the year. It's weird going with the mentality being at a competitive level to all of a sudden you're told to do nothing and take a break. I enjoy it because it's our one time to take a break and I find it really helpful because you can burn out real fast if you don't take time off.

Q: Can you talk about the advantages of your home course since you're hosting NCAA regionals?
A: Yeah, we do so many workouts on the course that we know every little place you can maybe cut an edge. We get to know the advantages of every part of the course. I think knowing that definitely helps in big meets like regionals. If we can have that extra edge of knowing when the hills are coming and when it's time to go and pick up the pace.

 

 

Q: Can you talk about your schedule this year and how the NCAA championships are moving this year to Louisville, Ky.?
A: There will be some good competitive meets in Wisconsin and Michigan. It will be a good season going out there.

Q: Is there one season between cross country and indoor and outdoor track that you like best?
A: Well for myself I like them all for different reasons. Cross country is nice because it's a smaller group of people. It's a different kind of community than track. As far as racing, I enjoy track because I really like doing steeplechase and I still look up to (former Penn State standout and 2012 Olympian) Bridget (Franek) now so it's fun.

Q: You return five of seven athletes who competed at the NCAA championships last year. How does that prepare you for the championship portion of this season?
A: I think it's really good because we have more returners like we said. We only have a few new girls on the team. I think it's going to be great to have that background experience going into it. It's not like in our freshman and sophomore years when we were still new and getting used to that big stage of racing. It's going to be good. We're going to help the freshmen along and give them our experiences from racing there.

Q: What are your team goals?
A: Our team goals as always, I think, we're always trying to be in the top of the Big Ten, competitive with the other top teams and also to qualify for nationals and be a top scoring team there.

Natalie Bower
Senior

Q: How are things looking at this point?
A: We've added five freshmen into the mix this year so like Lindsey said we've already got things going with team bonding and have done some activities in the past 24 hours and things seem to be looking good.

Q: How inspiring was it to see Bridget run this summer?
A: Lindsey and I both do steeple and we relate to Bridget. She helped us along as we came in as freshmen. She's an outstanding athlete and person in general and to see her make it that far was pretty inspiring to me for sure.

Q: What did you do this summer? Did you compete on your own?
A: We kind of take it easy in the beginning - recover and take some time off. Maybe a week or two, something like that. And like Lindsey said we recover off of the three seasons in that time and slowly build our mileage up over the summer and maybe do a road race or two here and there.

Q: Is that tough to take a week or two off after you're used to running high mileage every week?
A: I think it's not only a great physical break but mentally. Running itself can be a very mental sport and it helps with that too.

Q: In summer do you ever run a community 5K?
A: Yeah, I did one this summer. It was actually funny there was an Olympian there that ended up running against me. She was from Florida. She went and continued onto the Olympics so it was neat to go to a small community race and have that happen.

Q: Who was (the Olympian)?
A: Genevieve LaCaze from Florida.

Q: Can you talk about the advantages of your home course since you're hosting NCAA regionals?
A: We're really excited actually. We've had Big Ten's at home before and having a meet at home is a great thing because everyone is coming to you and they're kind of like `Oh they're lucky they have their home course to know what the advantages and disadvantages are' and things like that. And to have the support of the fans and the crowd.

Q: Can you talk about your schedule this year and how the NCAA championships are moving this year to Louisville, Ky.?
A: Our schedule seems maybe a little smaller than in years past but we have a couple new meets mixed in there and got rid of some of the old so I'm excited like (Brooklyne) said to try new things. Definitely at the national level it will be neat to see how everyone reacts since it's new to everyone.

Q: Is there one season between cross country and indoor and outdoor track that you like best?
A: I have to agree with Lindsey. I like the start of cross country in the fall. It gets things going. Being in smaller group helps to bond a little more and then you go into track season and you have a larger team. I definitely enjoy doing steeplechase the most.

Q: You return five of seven athletes who competed at the NCAA championships last year. How does that prepare you for the championship portion of this season?
A: I think with the amount of returners that we will have, being able to go there and compete together, will help the freshmen want to do the same and make it there. Knowing we've been there in the past will give our whole team a confidence boost from the start.

Brooklyne Ridder
Senior

Q: How are things looking at this point?
A: The great thing about our team is we have a lot of returners. We just lost two girls so we have a lot of depth so we'll see how that helps us.

Q: Do you have a good feeling coming off a 13th-place finish in the NCAA championships last year?
A: With girls who have been to the NCAAs before they have the experience of seeing how it is and how the competition is that day so we have the experience to help us in the future.

Q: How inspiring was it to see Bridget run this summer?
A: If watching that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will.

Q: Since it is a three-season sport, is it difficult to pace yourself and find that quiet time to recover?
A: It definitely is but (Director and head coach of track & field/cross country Beth Alford-Sullivan) helps us with that a lot. It affects the freshmen a little bit more than the seniors who have the experience in the years before. But they do a really good job by giving us a break after cross country. We get a week off and then after indoor we have a little downtime during Christmas break. They work with us and we're pretty well prepared for it.

Q: Is that tough to take a week or two off after you're used to running high mileage every week?
A: Yeah I think after three seasons we definitely need a break.

Q: Can you talk about the advantages of your home course since you're hosting NCAA regionals?
A: Yeah, I think (Lindsey's) trying to say we know where the challenging parts of the course are. And it's on November 9th so we expect everyone to come out and watch us and cheer us on.

Q: Can you talk about your schedule this year and how the NCAA championships are moving this year to Louisville, Ky.?
A: I'm really excited to change it for my senior year. We've been there for the last three years so changing it up will be a good change. We're going to go there early in the season to see how the course is so I think that will give us a little bit of an advantage. I'm looking forward to it.

Q: Is there one season between cross country and indoor and outdoor track that you like best?
A: I think it depends on your personal preference. I think everyone has their own, but they're all exciting.

Q: You return five of seven athletes who competed at the NCAA championships last year. How does that prepare you for the championship portion of this season?
A: At the national level it's a lot different racing there than at other races because there's a lot of girls in the race. So just having that experience to know what to expect when you're out there will help a lot.

Q: What are your team goals?
A: Since our freshman year for the three of us we've gone to the national level so that's always a big goal for us is to make it there and then see how well we can do once we're there.

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