Bolles Bulldog Interviews

Courtney Hall (Girls 1600m Winner)

Paulk: How'd you feel out there Courtney? You looked great.
Courtney: I felt pretty good. I didn't really know what to expect because I've been sick. But I felt confident because I've had good workouts, and I ran exactly what I wanted to run.
Paulk: Were you planning before the race to go out and run from the front the whole way?
Courtney: Well, I wasn't really worried about where anyone else was. I just wanted to go for the state-leading time (previously 5:12 by Brittany Cushman).
Paulk: I have to ask, what's up with the butt-huggers (racing briefs allowed in Florida this year for this first time).
Courtney: Well, I've always wanted to wear them. I wear them in practice sometimes and get a bunch of laughs. And when they said we could wear them this year, it was the most exciting thing I've ever heard in my life, so I'm going to wear them all season.
Paulk: Aside from the sickness you've been getting over lately, has your training been going well?
Courtney: Yeah, it's been going pretty well. The sickness was just something that's been going around, especially in my family, but I think I managed to avoid the worst of it.

Steven Hassen (Boys 1600m Winner)

Paulk: Steven, can you tell me about your strategy during that race? Were you planning on going out and just tucking in behind Sam and trying to outkick him in the end?
Ryder Leary and Steven Hassen pose together at the meet. They will soon be teammates at UF.
Steven: Actually to be honest, me and my coach kind of thought I'd be able to get the lead right from the beginning and Sam would just try and sit on me, and so (Coach Travieso) wanted me to push the second lap. But Sam went out hard and I just stuck with him. And when I heard we came through the first lap in 63 I was faced with the decision that I could take the lead then and push the pace on the 2nd lap like my coach said. But I know my coach has a lot of faith in me, and I decided to just sit with Sam for that 2nd lap. So we came through the 2nd lap in 66, and when we got to the backstretch of the 3rd lap, it felt like it was getting a little slower. So I went up on Sam's shoulder and pulled up even with him, and if he had slowed down I was going to go around him. But he picked it up a little bit so I decided to just fall back behind him, and we came through the third lap in 63 seconds. And then on the last lap, Sam started putting a move on - and he's a really fast runner, so I just tried to stay with him. At about 300 to go, I felt like he started picking it up a little more, and I stuck with him. When we got to about 200 meters to go, I thought in my head, "I think I have a chance to win this." So when we went into the curve I kind of flung around to the outside and put the pedal to the metal. Luckily I was able to hold on for the win. Sam Vasquez is a great runner. It's still early in the year, so I'm sure he's still got a lot more tricks in his bag, and it should be interesting.
Paulk: Were you confident that you could outkick him? I mean, he's one of the fastest 800 runners in the state.
Steven: My coach and I feel that "strength is speed," and I feel really strong this year, in cross I felt really strong. If you have me run a quarter or an 800, I'm not exactly the fastest guy, but in a strength race I'm able to gut it out, and luckily I was able to do that tonight. Sam Vasquez is a fast guy, incredible speed, especially in the 800. He's a great runner and I'm sure he's going to keep getting better and better, so hopefully I'll be able to keep improving with him.
Paulk: So in your training have you been doing mostly strength work then?
Steven: We kind of want to stay away from speedwork until later in the year, so I've been doing a lot of strength-oriented runs, a lot of tempo runs with repeat miles afterward. I think I've done only one 400 workout this year so far, nothing too quick. I'm feeling really healthy, really strong, and I'm really excited about this season. I'm also really excited about signing with Florida, because it kind of takes the pressure off me a little bit. I know that (University of Florida) Coach Pigg, no matter how I run this season, will be really supportive of me, and just give me the chance to go out and run.

Kara Scanlin (Former Episcopal Star, State CC 5K Record Holder)

Kara Scanlin and friends.
Paulk: Kara, I wanted to talk with you about your first year at Virginia. What are your thoughts about how things have gone so far? Tell me about how cross-country went for you.
Kara: Cross-country went great. I had a really good season, but I think I got a little burnt out toward the end of the season, and probably peaked at ACC's or Regionals. Nationals it was really tough for me; it was really cold and I didn't really run that well. But other than that, my whole season was great: it was a great learning experience. I love the team, and I love being up in Virginia.
Paulk: Was it hard making the adjustment from high school to college?
Kara: Yeah, the adjustment was really hard for me, especially at the beginning of the year. I had trouble adjusting to the different lifestyle and different training. It was really just a whole different ballgame. I think that took its toll on me in the fall.
Paulk: Is it true that you've had an injury that's prevented you from doing track so far?
Kara: Actually my coach and I decided I should redshirt indoor track because I needed a break after cross-country. I was running lots of miles getting ready for outdoor track and ended up developing a stress-fracture in my femur, so I'll be out for another month-and-a-half or so, and I won't be able to compete in outdoor this year. But I'll get stronger and be back for cross-country next year.

Mallory Wellman (Girls 3200m Winner)

Mallory Wellman.
Paulk: Can you tell me little about your race? What were you looking to do tonight?
Mallory: Well, all my coaches told me that if I didn't take the lead before the last 800, I wouldn't be able to make it, so I went on my 5th lap.
Paulk: Yeah, you opened up about a 15-20 meter lead in the first 200 of that lap.
Mallory: I know that I don't have a real strong kick, so I wanted to make sure I had a good lead. I wasn't going to look behind me during the race, so I just wanted to make sure I didn't give anybody else a chance to outkick me.
Paulk: I saw that you were also sporting the butt-huggers this race. You and Courtney went 2 for 2 while wearing them.
Mallory: Yeah, Courtney was very sweet to me and always has been. She was just trying to help me out and encourage me, so she let me use her butt-huggers, and I guess they worked.
Paulk: How has your training been going?
Mallory: Really well! Courtney, Kelly, and I do every workout together; we stick together like white on rice. We train together very well.
Paulk: Good luck in the rest of the season. We'll be looking for big things from you in the future.
Mallory: Thanks, I'm definitely going to be running the 3200 at states, so hopefully it goes well.

Sam Vasquez (Boys 800m Winner, 1600m Runner-up)

Paulk: Sam, can you tell me how you feel about how you ran tonight?
Sam: Yeah, I wasn't feeling too good after the loss in the 1600. I kind of wanted to do better, so I tried to make my 800 a lot better to make up for it.
Paulk: You looked really strong, running negative splits for the race.
Sam: I felt good the first lap, and just tried to lose the guys behind me.
Paulk: How has your training been going?
Sam: It's going really good. I got sick this winter, but it's all gone now, so it's going good now.