bleedCrimson.net: How has your team's preparation for the Kachina Classic been the past couple of weeks since your meet in Albuquerque?
Paul Harkins: It's been tough, the kids have been handling it very well though. We've had two really good workouts this week, Monday and Wednesday, it was intense but they're handling it well and looking sharp and looking ready to go.
bc.net: As far as times are concerned based on how your teams performed last year what are you looking for for improvements?
PH: I think we'll have some solid improvements. Based on how everybody's been running we've had three girls running faster than where our number one was a year ago and on the men's side we've had anywhere from four to six or seven guys running faster than our number one was a year ago. I definitely think they should probably be running a bit faster. Of course, who knows, if we get a rain storm or something like that the night before and turns the golf course soggy you never know. But that would be my expectation. Everybody should be improving but I think we'll have a solid group running ahead of where our number one did a year ago on both sides.
bc.net: What are your expectations for the meet on Saturday for each of the teams?
PH: Based on who's coming, it's going to be a four team race, us, UNM, UTEP and El Paso Community College and based on how we stacked up against those teams in the first meet (Lobo Invitational) our men, based on who UNM has entered, should probably win the meet but it's always hard to tell. They should definitely be up there battling.
The women, UNM is not bringing their 'A' squad but UTEP is. With UTEP being a Top 20 team in the country, they'll probably win it but I think our women should be second behind UTEP.
bc.net: Does your training change at all having two weeks to prepare for a meet as opposed to just one week like you have most of the time?
PH: It gave us a good opportunity to focus on our training, hit the workouts hard. Our focus is always towards the end of the season when the championship portion comes in and I think the work we've done over the last two weeks is going to prepare us for that later season segment.
The last two weeks we've been working them hard and they've been putting their bodies through the ringer, a lot of early morning workouts, a lot of hard miles and they've been doing a good job. I think it's going to show definitely come the end of the season. They'll probably be running a little bit tired this weekend with the two workouts this week leading up to it but I think toward the end of the year it's really going to pay off.
bc.net: For Saturday's meet, who are some of the kids that aren't in your top five that you're really looking forward to seeing run?
PH: We're running everybody again on the men's and women's side. On the men's side I'm looking forward to seeing how Tyler Williams and Brian Simison, two freshmen that have come in this year, seeing how they're handling everything. They're both pretty talented and I think they're both ready for a breakout. I think Kevin Palmer, Victor Sanchez and Terry Williams are also three guys, they're returning athletes but they've done some great work and I don't think the first race really showed all that they're capable of even though they all ran faster than they did a year ago. I think they're definitely capable of some more and I'm excited to see what those guys can do.
On the women's side, a girl that has really been looking good and it's not surprising but it's a pleasant surprise is Christy Barela. She's a freshman out of Albuquerque and she had only run cross country one season before. Her workouts are looking great and she's probably focusing more on the middle distances so if she becomes a great cross country runner, it's not what we were expecting of her, but if she does, she's a talented girl, we'll be very excited to see that happen.
Carly Porter has been looking really good too, she's another freshman from Albuquerque, her older brother is on the team as well.
Madelyn Stoltze is going to have her first race this weekend. She's a junior college transfer from Moorpark, Calif. It'll be good to see her out there in an Aggie uniform as well.