Nease standout Karen Xiang placed 22nd in last season's Cross Country Finals and 8thin the state during the outdoor track season. She is currently undefeated taking down a state champion and some of the top girls in the state in recent years. This cross country season she has run a personal best of 18:30 and won three big meets. Xiang is very humble about the way she is running right now.We caught up with her to talk about the 2013 season and the success she is having.
Last season you came to a bigger stage running a SB time of 19:15. This season you have put your name out there as someone to watch already running a PR 18:30 and winning the Ridgeview Bob Hans Invitational, a very quality meet in Katie Caples, and most recently the Mandarin Mustang Invitational. Already having great early success have your goals changed on what you want to do this season?
Definitely not, but since I'm hitting those times early in the season I'm trying to be extra careful and not get any injuries.
Currently you have the third fastest time in the state and were the first to hit the MIleSplit First Team Elite status. Even though it's early are you surprised on how you have been performing?
Yes and no. I didn't do too much over the summer except getting some mileage in, so I was surprised at some of the paces I could hit during the beginning of cross country practice. Once I realized I could actually run those paces comfortably, I wasn't extremely shocked at my times at the meets, but that doesn't mean I wasn't happy.
Ranked 4th as a team in the recent 3A polls, what is the talk about possible team goals as the season progresses?
The girls have all been working really hard at practice. We want to win states!
Let's make this fun. Are there any pre-race rituals you must perform the night before or the morning of a meet?
Well, we always have our team dinner the night before the race. I love being able to have fun with the team and eat a ton of pasta. At night, I just relax/stretch & try to mentally imagine the race. For race days, I always have to wear my lucky neon green socks, except they have too many holes now. I guess it is time fo some replacements.
Do you have any special talents?( besides running of course)
I took piano classes for almost ten years and art classes for five years. Instead of running every day, it use to be practicing piano and painting every day, but my biggest talent is...probably my cooking skills. My family might not agree, (except for the banana bread) but I think I'm pretty good,
If you had to give any credit to your recent success who would you give it to?
There's so many people that I would give credit to--God, my dad, Coach Rivera, Coach Kristine, Coach Kim, the Rabalais (thanks so much for letting me use the bike... and clothes when I forget the keys to my house!) My dad has played a huge role in my running. This summer when I was in China (my dad didn't go), he would Face Time me too make sure I was healthy and running (actually I was checking on him too to make sure HE was running). Even when things got really tough, he would talk to me and make everything not seem as bad. Plus, my dad is my running buddy!.All my coaches have also been a big part of my running. Even though Coach Rivera is now at Bolles, if it wasn't for him I would not even be running anything over a 400 meters, don't even mention cross country! He has always been there for me and the team, giving us the best advice and... reallyyyyy fun workouts (*cough cough*) Switching coaches has been hard, but I love Coach Williams and Coach Kim already!
Team Title or Individual Title? (Pick one)
TEAM TITLE ALL THE WAY!
Is there anything else you would like to add or tell teams you'll be racing this season?
Good luck to everyone else in their races & run fast!