Sunni Olding - MINSTER
AGE: 16
PRs:  5k xc - 17:44/800 - 2:15/1600 - 4:54/3200 - 10:55
MAJOR ACHEIVEMENTS: 2000 Junior Olympics National Runner up 1500 and 3000.  2000 and 2002 Division III State XC Champion.  2001 and 2002 Division III 1600 Champion.  2001 and 2002 Division III 3200 State Runner up.  Member of 2002 Division III 4x800 Relay State Champion, Member of 2 XC State Championship Teams and one State Runner up.  Member of 2 track and field State Championship teams.  Academic All-Ohio (4.0). 
First off, congratulations on the most recent of your five state championships!  That's amazing with a year and a half to go.  Now, as for your most recent championship:

OGXC:  What were your goals and plans heading into last Saturday's race?
SO:  I'd be lying not to say that my foremost goal was to do whatever it took to win the State Championship.  My only plan was to run my own race.  I wanted to make sure that I went out hard in the first mile and then I worked from there. 

OGXC:  Most races you just ran away from the field quite early, at State, Morgan was right with you almost the whole way, what was going through your mind?
Did you believe that in the end you would prevail?
SO:  Going into the race, I recognized the fact that it was going to be a battle and I was prepared for that.  I was hoping to gain a little more of a lead before the final stretch, but Jenny ran a very strong race and I wasn't able to get the lead I would have liked.  I had been working hard to increase my speed, and I had confidence in my sprint if the race came down to the final stretch.

OGXC:  You always start off each XC season really strong, in fact, at one point this season, you had the best time in the nation to that date.  What is your summer training like?
SO:  My summer training normally consists of relaxed, long runs in order to create a good base for the upcoming season.  I incorporated higher mileage this summer than I had in past summers (about 35-40 mile weeks) and also began lifting more consistently (two to three times a week).  I feel this really helped me to gain the physical strength that I was lacking.  I also attended Camp Fitch which I loved!  It provided me with a solid week of training to end the summer (60 miles) and helped me to get on top of my mental game as well. 

OGXC:  You won the title as a frosh, do you feel that placed any extra pressure on you last year as a sophomore?  And were things different coming in this year without the pressure to defend?
SO:  I didn't feel any added pressure my sophomore year.  My finish at the state meet was not what I had hoped for, but third in the state was nothing to be ashamed of.  I was beaten by two excellent runners.  Most of the pressure I feel is to finish as high as I can to help my team reach our goals.  The team atmosphere is what makes cross country so special.  Wanting that one extra point for the team helped me immensely during the final one hundred meters of the state race this year.

OGXC:  What's your pre-race routine like?
SO:  I normally stay in the night before the race and relax (oftentimes with a good movie).  The morning of the race I get up early and get my blood flowing.  I then eat a healthy breakfast (oatmeal) and get a chiropractic adjustment from my dad.  Our team begins a twenty minute warm-up an hour before the race, followed by stretching.  About twenty minutes before race time, we head to the starting line and do plios and sprint outs.  Then it's time to race!

OGXC:  How did you get your start running?  Why do you run?
SO:  I always knew since I was little that I wanted to be a runner and a basketball player.  With a strong tradition of successful teams at Minster, I had plenty of role models to admire.  I began running a few local races in fifth and sixth grade and have been running since. 

OGXC:  I hear that your mom was quite the runner when she was in high school.  Has she helped you?
SO:  My mom was a State Runner up in the mile and was part of three State Cahmpionship teams.  Mom helps me by cooking great meals, making sure I get to bed on time, and always being there for me!

OGXC:  You've had great success in both XC and track, which do you like best?
SO:  That is a tough question.  There are things that I love about both XC and Track.  I really enjoy XC because it is truly a team sport.  The friendships that I have made through XC over the past three years are irreplaceable.  I have also come to love the pure guts I feel it takes to run XC!  Track, though, has always come more naturally for me.  I love the mile because its fast tempo seems to suit my strenghts.  I've also really enjoyed being a member of hte 4x800 meter relay team.  It's such an exciting race!

OGXC:  What your plans for the postseason? 
SO:  I am currently training with my teammate, Joanna Gruber, to run the Footlocker Midwest Regional on Thanksgiving weekend.  I want to continue to work hard to better myself as a runner and I also want to continue to contribute to the succes of my team.   I would like to run for a strong academic Divison I school in college.  I have began to look at some schools, but I have not made any decision yet. 

OGXC:  And the last one for fun, and just because I'm curious:  Is there any history or meaning behind your name, Sunni?  It's pretty unique.
SO:  Surprisingly, there is no unique history behind the name.  My grandma suggested it and my parents both decided that they like it!

My sincere thanks to Sunni for this great interview!  Sunni stands an excellent chance of qualifying out of the Footlocker Midwest Regional and OGXC will be there onsite on Nov. 30th!
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