Men's Cross Country Media Day Transcript

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Redshirt junior Thomas Luff speaks to the media at Fall Sports Media Day.

Aug. 22, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Redshirt juniors Thomas Luff (Emmaus, Pa.) and Tyler Corkedale (West Windsor, N.J.) met with members of the media on Wednesday.

Thomas Luff
Redshirt Junior

Q: How are you guys feeling with the season right around the corner?
A: We're feeling pretty excited. We've got a lot of new faces on the team this year between freshmen and transfers and guys who had redshirted last year so that's a pretty exciting element. But we also bring back a lot of people who made up the depth of the team. Not the top, top guys but a lot of guys right behind. Overall we're pretty excited. Everyone seemed to have a pretty good summer of training. There really weren't any injuries. Everyone trained really smart and is in really good shape coming in.

Q: You don't have the top runners coming back like the women's team so is that a different feeling?
A: It's different but at the same time we have a transfer coming in (Sam Masters) who has a lot of experience. He's a grad student who competed at Tulsa, which is a good program, so he brings a lot of experience to the table. He might help replace some of those top guys we lost. And we have a redshirt freshman coming up, Robbie Creese, who had an incredible track season so we expect him to be up there too to replace some of those top guys.

Q: What's your training regimen like in the summer?
A: I think the most important thing about the summer is just to try to build a solid base of mileage. Throw some not necessarily difficult workouts in but just some quicker running here and there to try to be a little bit sharp when you come in. Most of the hard, hard-effort running is done in the fall to sharpen us for the racing late in the fall.

 

 

Q: Any specific workouts to prepare for?
A: They usually don't tell us until right before which is good, I think.

Q: What's the hardest workout you've had to prepare for?
A: Last spring, it's track but it's the same kind of training basically. We end up totaling about 15 miles to the day and nine miles of that is hard effort toward race pace. That was something pretty tough. Tempo runs plus repeats on the track, it all kind of adds up. There's not one that stands out but there's many, many I can think of that you're totaling six of more miles of hard effort that leave you kind of dead in the end.

Q: Do you have trouble with the three seasons (cross country, indoor track and outdoor track) and having to ramp up at the end of each season?
A: I think we do a pretty good job. The coaches have a pretty good layout for us in terms of training to get us to peak at the right time. Everybody has a patch or two during the year where they're struggling somehow like they have low iron or something like that. There's a three-week lull where they're dragging for a bit but everybody seems to get over it when it matters. I guess there are little patches along the way at different times for different people. You can't have a full season that's completely perfect. That's impossible.

Q: Can you talk about your summer training?
A: It's sent to us. It's a recommended training plan that Coach Sullivan gives us right at the beginning of summer. It's really detailed and it has a lot of good advice on drills and lifting and things like that. It's a pretty good guide for us. It has everything you pretty much need to know.

Q: What are the advantages to having the NCAA regionals at Penn State?
A: I know specifically a lot of teams will mention it to us. A lot of the last mile of our course is uphill so a lot of teams struggle with that and I think that's one of our strengths that we can use in the last mile of the 10K regionals. We're used to doing that at the end of workouts so that's completely normal for us, but I think that's a pretty big advantage.

Q: How exciting was it to see (track & field volunteer assistant coach) Ryan Whiting in the Olympics?
A: It's definitely a unique situation. Not just him, a lot of the women's athletes were in the Olympics so it's definitely cool to see them walking around and training.

Tyler Corkedale
Redshirt Junior

Q: You don't have the top runners coming back like the women's team so is that a different feeling?
A: We definitely lost our top three from regionals but we have a really big pack of guys who were pretty much running together all year last year who are I feel, like all these guys, are ready to step up and almost be right where those guys were. And we'll have five or six of them.

Q: What's your training regimen like in the summer?
A: It's nothing too specific it's really just getting a lot of miles in. Some guys do a couple road races here and there but nothing too competitive. Some of the track guys are still kind of racing into the middle of the summer. So once they're done they take a little bit of a break and then get back into just doing long miles and stuff like that. It's mostly getting ready to get back to full training when you get here. You have to come back in really good shape so you can handle the kind of workload that we have to do once we get here.

Q: Are you guys in full training right now?
A: This is our preseason week and it's going to be a pretty heavy workload.

Q: What's the hardest workout you've had to prepare for?
A: Something we do this week is we usually go out to Tussey Mountain and do a mountain run. That's pretty tough. Usually the first week people are ready to roll and it ends up being a pretty quick one.

Q: Do you have trouble with the three seasons (cross country, indoor track and outdoor track) and having to ramp up at the end of each season?
A: We do a good job of taking a little bit of time between each season to get your legs back underneath you to get ready to start training again and peak at the right time.

Q: Can you talk about your summer training?
A: Yeah, it's a pretty detailed schedule. It's a little bit different for everybody. There's not one training plan that's going to work for every single person on this team so you have to adapt it a little bit for what works to you.

Q: What are the advantages to having the NCAA regionals at Penn State?
A: I think the biggest advantage is we get to run it so often. We work out there probably at least once, twice a week so when all these other teams are coming in maybe seeing it for the second time that year we've seen it every day. That's a huge advantage in my opinion.

Q: How exciting was it to see (track & field volunteer assistant coach) Ryan Whiting in the Olympics?
A: It was awesome actually just to see him training here all the time in the track season and helping out with the throws guys. It's pretty cool to see somebody that we see that often doing that well at an Olympic level.

Beth Alford-Sullivan
Director and Head Coach of Track & Field/Cross Country

Q: Can you talk about the student-athletes training?
A: Just one comment on these athletes and the ladies as well, they're unique student-athletes because they do have through their four years of competitive time the opportunity for a national championship in every season as well. Where a lot of student-athletes have four national championships in their careers or opportunities for conference and national we've got 12. You know when they talk about some ebb and flow and some flat phases and some off timing you're trying to really be at your best for a four-year time for 12 national championships or 12 Big Ten's and those types of levels of competition. And these guys are being very humble. These guys are carrying 100-mile weeks most of the year. So they're carrying somewhere between 80, 90 and 100 miles a week on top of their studies, on top of their competitive schedules too. It's quite a challenge to ebb and flow with the good and the bad and that's where the tough mentality comes in as well. They have to be somewhat even-keeled people to accept the roller coaster of a ride a little bit until they really season up, physically and mentally season up, to the demand of this level of competition. These two have really developed in their careers here not only as leaders as they're elected captains for us but just in their physicality. They don't show it on the outside like a football player might but they're physicality for what you do in running tough miles year in and year out, week in and week out, they've really come a long way, both of them. It's exciting to see them on the cusp of that and that's kind of what they mean by some redshirt kids coming around. It takes a year or two to be at that strength to do what they do.

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