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Cross Country 1999

Canadian High School Spotlight

Interview with Emily Kroshus

by Mark MacDonald

Emily Kroshus, is one of top high school middle-distance runners in North America. Kroshus, the 1999 Canadian Junior (19 years and under) 1500m and 3000m champion, set PBs of 4:29 for 1500m, 9:37 for 3000m and 16:46 for the 5000m in 1999. A grade 12 student (all though she is only grade 11 age) from Calgary, Alberta, Kroshus has a wealth of international experience. In 1999, she competed at the World Junior Cross Country Championships in Ireland where she placed 66th. She also represented Canada at the World Youth Track and Field Championships (17 and Under) in Poland. She recently placed 2nd at the Canadian Junior Cross Country Championships which qualified her for the World Juniors which will take place this coming March in Vilamoura, Portugal. Emily is a member of the Calgary Spartans Track Club and is coached by Alex Ulazonek, who is the Canadian Head Coach for the 2000 World Cross Country Championships.

MM: You are presently in your graduating year, can you comment on why you are a year younger than the rest of your classmates and has this been a cause for any confusion in your recruiting process? What are your options for universities that you would like to attend next year? 

EK: I started Kindergarten early, so I'm 16 and in grade 12. Some college coaches thought I was a junior in high school, and thus didn't contact me. Similarly, my lack of American exposure was a bit of a hindrance, but as soon as you send a coach a letter with a list of your PB's, transcript and grades, they're on the phone! I've narrowed my choice of schools down to Stanford, Duke, Princeton, Georgetown and Rice. Academics are a really high priority to me. I'm enrolled in International Baccalaureate classes, and on my SAT's I scored 1550, so I'm looking for preferably a top 10 academic institution. I've only taken one trip so far (Princeton), but it was amazing, I can't wait to go to university!

MM: Can you me an overview of your progression in running from when you first started to where you at now? 

EK: I began running with the Calgary Spartans Track Club in Grade 9; that spring I ran 4:40 1500m and 10:21 3000m, and won the Canadian Legion Nationals (15 years and under) for the 1500m and 3000m (2nd in 800m). That was a pretty hard year to follow- the following year I ran a decent 3000m, 9:53, but became very anemic as the year progressed and ran terribly at the Canadian Juniors (one my worst times ever). Even worse was the fact that a bunch of Alberta girls made the Canadian junior team that competed at the Cayman Island dual meet. I knew that I could have been there and I was extremely upset. After taking a break and recovering fully, I was really motivated for cross country season. I increased my mileage, worked really hard and ended up placing 5th at Canadian XC Nationals and qualifying for Worlds in Belfast, Ireland. In Ireland, I ran decently, for my first international meet, placing 66th. It was such a great experience and a huge motivator. This past spring, I ran some pretty fast times, but not nearly equal to what I think I was capable of at the time. I won the Mt. Sac (California) 1500m, then a couple hours later placed 2nd in the 3000m with a PB (Sara Bei out kicked me). I ran one 5000m on the track in Abbotsford, BC- I was totally relaxed, ran really evenly and felt great- I ran 16:46. At Jr. Nationals, I ran and won both the 1500m and 3000m. I went to Bydgoscz, Poland for the 1st annual IAAF World Youth Championship. It was amazing, there were girls my age (17 and under) running 9 minutes for 3000m. I ran 9:37, had a lot of fun and ate lots of polish ice cream.

MM: Who do you train with in Calgary and what kind of training do you do? Can you give an outline of what a typical week of training involves? What do you think you need to do to continue to improve?

EK: I train in Calgary, in a terrible and cold climate; we are fortunate however to have a 400m indoor track around our Olympic Speed Skating Oval. Ironically, this winter the plan is for us to do a lot of tempo runs outside. This fall I've been training primarily with Lisa Harvey (she went to the Olympics for the 10,000m, but had a baby last spring), and Sara Howell (Canadian national team member). I've been doing pretty high mileage- an average of about 80 miles/week; the volume doesn't bother me at all- I'm used to it now, and really enjoy it. Alex (my coach) and I sat down today and mapped out a plan from now until the summer; we're going to be doing a couple of months of aerobic strength stuff then a hill period before World Cross, so although I'll be doing indoors, and should be really strong, I won't have done any speed workouts. I really enjoy doing long repeats (like 5 x 1 mile- which we did this Wednesday- it was really fun!). I do a lot of cross training (elliptical trainer is my favorite this year), and I'm planning on replacing any 'plodding' running this winter with cross training; perhaps because of this vigilance I've never been injured. In my opinion, this will be the key to continued improvement- you see so many girls who are awesome in high school, but get a stress fracture and are never heard of again. I hope that won't be me!

MM: What is your goal for the World Junior Cross Country Championships? What are your goals for the reminder of 2000? How are you planning on preparing for maximum success?

EK: For World XC, I definitely want to improve on my place from last year, run as hard as I can and see where it takes me. It should be a fun trip- my track coach is going to be the head National Team coach, and two of the senior athletes from my club are on the team (Lisa Harvey and Jeremy Deere). For the rest of 2000 track, I want to run really really fast; if I have a strong winter of training and don't get hurt, I should be set. I've played varsity basket-ball every year up until now- unfortunately this year the try-outs conflicted with the national XC meet- so I'll be focusing on track entirely for the first time this winter.

MM: Who are you major influences and role models? What motivates you?

EK: I don't really have any role models. I'm just a highly motivated (perfectionist?) person- I want to be the best at everything I do, and track is no exception.

MM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What event do you think will be your best in the future? etc.

EK: In 10 years, I hope I will still be running at a high level, but definitely, I want to have earned an excellent degree, perhaps be a doctor, definitely own my own business, and be a millionaire!

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