bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the first meet of the season up in Albuquerque?
Paul Harkins: We thought the weekend went really well. It was an unsecured competition. On the women's side if it was scored we would have been third behind two teams that are ranked in the Top 20, both UNM and UTEP. We had three girls run faster than we've every had anybody run there before, at least since we've been here.
The twins [Courtney and Camille Schultz] finished in the Top 10 and they were running with some very very good competition, All-American types who have been at the national meet. Chelsa McDonnell had a great day, Jenna Padilla had a great day. She had run the course before as a high school senior and probably before that also but she ran 28 seconds faster than she had ever done before. So it was good all around.
On the men's side, the men ran absolutely fantastic. They showed that they've really done their work over the summer. If it was a scored meet, they would have finished second there behind UNM and would have beaten UTEP for what would be the first time in school history which is pretty exciting.
We had four guys run faster than our number one did a year ago and our fifth was a second off of what our number one did a year ago. We had five guys finish under 26 minutes and had five or six more guys run within 30 seconds of that. It was exciting to see where things started off. The guys and girls did a great job.
bc.net: What differences did you see in your men's team in this first meet versus how they ran last year?
PH: There's absolutely no intimidation going in against teams like UTEP and UNM. These guys want to mix it up with them. At times, especially when you're a young runner coming out of high school you see some Kenyan athletes and maybe they look a little older, you see some of the older British kids from UNM and these guys look intimidating to them and they feel that. But right now these kids feel 100 percent that they can run on their level and it showed on Saturday.
bc.net: Last week when we talked you mentioned that you were going to run your kids tired in the meet up at UNM with two hard runs last week plus the meet. Based on that, you have to be pleased with the performance you got from your kids this past weekend.
PH: We've had a few people mention to us that they were pretty exhausted going in. It's exciting to see what they can do despite being that tired. It shows to us as coaches that they are that much stronger than they were a year ago or two years ago. Having done the work they did last week going into that meet, they theoretically probably shouldn't have been able to run as fast as they did but having five guys right at where our number one was a year ago and on the girls side having three faster than we've ever had anyone run there before, it's obvious that they are on another level than they were a year ago.
The women are a much better team than they were a year ago, the men are a far better team than they were a year ago. They're that much stronger. They're able to handle the work that much better and they're doing a great job. It's exciting to see them start off the way they did and we're very optimistic for the remainder of the season. Obviously it just started but we're looking forward to the championship time and those are where the goals really come into play and what we look toward. I think they're capable of big things both the men and women.
bc.net: What do you have in store for your team this weekend with it being a weekend without a meet?
PH: We've got a couple intense workouts. We ran hard yesterday morning and we'll go hard again on Friday. With it being an off weekend we don't really take a lot of rest. We utilize those weekends to train that much harder to get us prepared for that next meet which is the Kachina Classic next weekend.