The Aggie men's and women's cross country teams head to Albuquerque, N.M. this weekend for the NCAA Regional Meet. We spoke with one half of the Aggies' Co-WAC Coaches of the Year Paul Harkins about the team's preparation for the NCAA Regionals.
bleedCrimson.net: This weekend you head up to Albuquerque for the NCAA Regional Meet, what are you goals for the weekend?
Paul Harkins: It's the culmination of our season for the most part. I think we've got a chance of getting a couple girls to qualify for the National meet. We're looking to improve on what we did last year. I think we're capable of placing in the top 10 on both sides. If the men place 10th they're running really well and I think the women are capable of 8th but our goal is 7th. It's going to be tough but if we can do that it'll set us up really well for next year.
bc.net: The NCAA Regional meet for the Mountain region will be in Albuquerque, a place that you are very familiar with. What advantages does that give your team?
PH: Running in Albuquerque is almost like running at home for us. We have so many kids on our team from the Albuquerque area, I know we can have close to probably 30 parents up there. It's also a nice easy drive for the kids that aren't running. They'll all be up there to support the team. I think some of the track girls will come up to support the team. It's like running at home for us. We know the course well, we run it every year, it's a little bit different but we know the terrain well enough that we know what changes have been made and how that may affect us. It's essentially like running at home and we have a huge amount of support in that area up there. It's really exciting. It'll be a fun time regardless of outcome because bringing together all the parents and friends and family is always a lot of fun.
bc.net: Coming off the WAC Championship win on the women's side and the strong finish for the men, what differences have you noticed in the confidence of the team?
PH: There's a lot more confidence. We have a group of three that when they work out together, the Schultz girls and Ingrid [Flores], they're playing around a little bit and like to come in down the stretch in the flying 'V' reminiscent of the Mighty Ducks, it's hilarious that they're having that much fun in workouts. With them running as fast as they are, they're able to do that and joke around a little bit while they're doing it, they're having a great time, they're having fun and to me that indicates that they're really ready to go. They're hitting their workout times even faster than we're recommending and doing it with such ease. They girls are confident, they're feeling good and they're fast. It's an exciting time for them. They have so much confidence coming off of last week that they have the belief that they can run with anybody out here. That's the attitude that we want to have going into any meet but especially meets as big as the conference and regional meet.
bc.net: Will your preparation for the NCAA Regional meet be any different than the previous meets you've run in this season?
PH: With this being potentially the last meet of our season, we have continued to taper our mileage. We're dropping them down a little bit and resting them a little bit more. This one even moreso will be the first time all year that they're running completely rested. We want to get as much out of them as possible. Now is the time to leave it all out on the line. This is the time that they really need to be ready to go. There's no point in trying to train through a meet if it's the last meet of the season.
We're definitely resting the girls and guys to get the as much out of them as we possibly can this weekend.