Emily Thompson - TAYLOR
AGE: 14
HOMETOWN: North Bend
PRs:  5k xc - 18:05
MAJOR ACHEIVEMENTS: 2002 Division II State XC Champ.  2002 JO Runner up 1500.  2002 JO 4th place 3000.  Member of 2002 Division II State XC Championship team. 
First off, congratulations on your first state championship! 

OGXC:  Were you intimidated heading into the state meet as a frosh?  Did having your team with you  help you to relax and treat it as a normal meet?
ET:  No, I was not very intimidated.  Part of the reason is that I am a freshman and I had nothing to lose.  Having my team there did a great deal to help me relax.  Of course, they couldn't help me treat it like a normal race, but they helped me overcome most of my nervousness and pepare for my race. 

OGXC:  How did you prepare and get ready for the race?
ET:  My coach wokred us very hard up until the week before state, he knew that we couldn't start to taper too early, and he did a good job of perparing us.  Individually, the hardest part for me was getting mentally perpared.  All week I kept telling myself that I could win, and that I wanted to win.  My teammates also wished me luck and gave me tips every time they saw me in the halls at school, that helped to prepare me. 

OGXC:  Did you feel any pressure to perform or to win?
ET:  Yes, I felt a lot of pressure to win because I am a freshman and I wanted to prove myself against all of the older girls.  One thing my coach helped me with all week was how to overcome the pressure.  I think that just him talking to me helped  to get rid of some of the pressure. 

OGXC:  What were your goals and plans heading into the race?
ET:  Heading into the race my goals were to be in the top 3 and I wanted to break 18:00. 

OGXC:  You went out pretty hard, but shortly after the mile you found yourself alone, what were you thinking?
ET:  When I was out there, I was thinking about the competition.  I knew they were not just going to let me jog to victory.  They were going to go as hard as they could to try and catch me.  I was also kind of stunned.  I never figured that I would be alone.  I went into the race knowing that there were girls in the race that would be with me the whole time and I was surprised that they were not there. 

OGXC:  How good does it feel to win in your first state meet?
ET:  It feels great to win my first state meet.  It was an unbelievable experience that I would never trade in for anything.  The lucky thing for me is that I have the chance to experience it for three more years. 

OGXC:  You obviously came into the season in great shape what was your summer training like?
ET:  My summer training was very tough.  We would practice 3 days a week as a team and the rest of the days we would run on our own.  I trained with Angela Bizzarri, which made the practices even harder.  Every day of practice, Angela and I would race each other like it was the state championship.  This pushed both of us to run better than we ever thought we could.  When I ran during the summer, a completely new runner was created.  I became stronger, much stronger, and I learned how to run a smart race.

OGXC:  You really seemed to turn it up a notch after the Hilliard Davidson Meet of Champions, where you were 8th, what happened?
ET:  After the Meet of Champions I became very disappointed in the way I had been racing.  I was upset that Maggie Infeld had beaten me by such a large margin of time.  I realized then that if I wanted to win state, I had to train like I was going to win.  My coaches and teammates with experience gave me some tips on how to run a better race, and eventually it just paid off. 

OGXC:  What are your plans for the postseason?  and for the future?
ET:  I am going to run JO's and I'm pretty sure I will be going to Footlocker.  In the future I want to win many more state championships in track and cross, individually and hopefully with my team also.  I know that I want to go to college and run, but right now I don't know where I want to go. 

OGXC:  It's a little early to think about it, but track is just around the corner.  Do you consider yourself a track or XC runner and why?
ET:  I consider myself a track runner.  I have always loved track, and I feel that I am better at it than I am at cross.  I also feel this way because up until a few weeks ago, I had much more success in track than I had in cross country. 

OGXC:  How did you start running?  Why do you run?
ET:  I got my start running when I was in seventh grade.  I had heard the middle schoool coach hyping about cross country on the announcements at the end of my sixth grade year.  It sounded very interesting so I decided to check it out.  Also, my teammate Carrie Crofford had a movie about her and the track team, at the end of my sixth grade year.  I got excited just watching her run the mile and crushing everyone.  I knew then that I wanted to run cross country the next year.

OGXC:  Who has the biggest influence in your running?  why
ET:  I have had many big influences on my running, but I would have to say that my coaches, Chip Dobson and Jeff Branhan, have had the most influence.  They have made me the runner that I am through intense workouts and tactical coaching.  My middle school coach, Daryl Rider, also had a big influence over my running, because he kept me interested in running.  Without his coaching and excellent recruiting techniques, I may not have ever ran.  My teammates at Taylor also have a great influence on my running. 

OGXC:  Last one, one for fun, where do you see yourself in 5 y
ET:  In five years I still see myself running, of course.  I want to be in a good college, with a good coach and good teammates.  I hope to be successful in my running, and make a good showing in collegiate cross country. 

OGXC:  Okay, I lied, one more...Any advice to aspiring runners?  Final tho
ET:  My advice would be to just never give up, no matter how fast you run.  The most athletic people are not always the best runners, because running takes time, intensity, pain, and the will to want to run good.  Also, even if you are not the best on your team, remember that even if you are the number 7 runner you can still push people from other teams back to help reduce your team's score.  If you run in the open races, you are only pushing the number 7 girl to run faster, which is overall making your whole team better. 

My sincere thanks to Emily for this great interview!  Emily will join d1 champ Angela Bizzarri in the Junior Olympics  Saturday Nov. 9th.  and stands an excellent chance of qualifying out of the Footlocker Midwest Regional, where OGXC will be on
site Nov. 30th!
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