Oct. 16, 2013
Sophomore Taylor Manett discusses the upcoming NCAA Pre-Nationals meet, the team's chemistry this season and fall break.
On previewing the NCAA Championship course this weekend ... "I think since this year there are only a couple of girls who have actually raced at Terre Haute before, it's important for our team to go preview the course. I think it's really important to get that mental picture in before the national meet where it will count more. When we're previewing a course, we usually like to look at mainly the start and finish and then where the big hills and turns are, what the footing is like, and other physical aspects of the course that we can keep in mind so that when we're racing it later we'll know what to do on those sections."
On the team's familiarity at this point in the season ... "I think at this point in the season we're all really comfortable doing workouts with each other, running with each other and racing together in those groups like we did at Purdue and Kansas. We have one freshman who is in the top seven with Erin Finn, so it's been a nice transition for her to come in -- she's really fit well with all of us. Since most of us were used to running with each other last year, it was a nice transition into this year. We are really able to group up in races because of that."
On her confidence level now compared to last season ... "Last year at this time, I was just a freshman so it was my first run through of things and I was still in the learning stages of seeing what everything was like. I had a lot more nervousness going into meets, but this year I feel like I'm a lot more confident in races and running with my teammates. It's nice to be able to help Erin Finn along and let her know that I was in her place last year and I know how she feels. I'm able to help her through the tough spots."
On facing a larger field at Pre-Nationals for the first time this season ... "I think one thing that coach McGuire emphasizes a lot is our ability to pack up and race together, mainly our 1-5 split -- he really likes the time between our first runner and our fifth runner to be as small as possible. We know that in bigger meets like this it will be harder to have our top five people close together, just because it is such a big field, but I think that's one tactic that our team really likes to emphasize is finding our teammates and trying to finish as close together as possible."
On the team getting a little rest during fall break ... "I think overall it was nice to have a little bit of a break because the routine can be comforting at times, but at the same time the grind can sort of ware on you over the course of a few weeks or few months. I think it was nice for everyone to take a deep breath and get things back in order before progressing with the rest of the semester and especially the rest of the championship part of the season. Last night we all went to the homecoming dance. It's a lot of fun to be with your teammates and get dressed up and go hang out with a bunch of other athletes for an evening. It was a lot of fun for us."
Previous Spotlight: Megan Weschler