January 4th – Interview with All-American, Bobbie Burgess
After qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals by way of a ninth place finish at FL Midwest, what were your feelings towards your chances at Nationals immediately following that race?
I was so overwhelmed with excitement! I had been training and looking forward to footlocker all year long. Immediately following the race I figured being an All American (top 15) was totally out of the question. I thought the odds were not in my favor being one of the last qualifiers from the Midwest. In my head I imagined being almost in last, but coach Lewark assured me that would not be the case. He told me that the Midwest region is usually the strongest region, and especially so this year. At that time I was just so happy that I qualified I was not concerned with the championship race.
Did your goals or expectations change as the weeks progressed and when you traveled to San Diego? Was ninth place a reality in your opinion?
As the week went on my main goal changed from not getting last at nationals, to hopefully being an All American. The week before at Nike Nationals in Portland did not go like I wanted it to. I did not earn All American status like I hoped, and the course, Portland Meadows, was a disaster. It ripped the bottom of my feet up so badly and had cuts so deep that in my mind I was considering not running footlocker nationals. It was horrible, and I would pretty much be sobbing on every run. Once I got to San Diego I talked with the other girls and we all pretty much had the same thing to say about the upcoming race… “I really hope I don’t get last”. On the line I did my best to not think about the cuts on my feet that were most likely already bleeding, and just focus on the race. I knew as long as I could stay up with my some of Midwest friends and teammates that they would help me through the race. 9th place was never something I ever thought I could do. Until I crossed that line.
What was your race plan going into the National race? It looked as though you started out considerably back of the leaders and moved up throughout the race.
I did start off near the back, but that is how I usually race. Coach Lewark told me before the race to not do anything different. In the past I have experimented with going out fast, but it is just not my style. I knew it would obviously be faster than what i was used to, but as long as I could stay in contact I knew I would be fine. I would rather be the one doing the passing than someone else passing me.
Like I said earlier I knew if I could stay with some of the girls I raced with at the Midwest Regionals that I would be in good positioning. At the regional I was near my really good friend Anna Holdiman from Iowa, so I hoped to race next to her. We pretty much did until the end, and she ended up getting 6th. During the race we were actually talking to each other! It was so awesome how tight we became in those few days.
To what do you attribute the recent boom in elite xc/track performances from Indiana female athletes? Just a few years ago, it was almost unheard of for a girl to go under 18 minutes or under 10:45 for 3200 and now we are seeing so many athletes breaking those marks on a weekly basis.
I have thought about that a lot. For me it was watching the times from the 2011 and 2012 track season. Watching Waverly Neer and Ashley Erba put up times that were crazy fast. I knew that this cross country season was going to be a lot faster. I think all of the Indiana girls realized that too. When cross country season started I thought about how we all want to be contenders, and with those crazy fast times the competition will for sure be more intense. I
also think that the availability of how we can just look up our competitors times, and races can also be attributed to that boom of elite performances, thanks to Indiana Runner!
Last time we talked, before NXN in 2011, running was almost a “secondary” sport to you compared to swimming. Has that changed recently? Talk a little about some of your career swimming accomplishments and where you see yourself this year in that sport.
Yes I was swimming at the time, the official cross country season had ended for me so I just went straight into swimming. Running has always been my primary sport, and I really just did swimming because my dad said I could pick to do swimming, or get a job. I didn’t want to get a job, and I figured it would be good cross training anyways. I was a 3 year letter winner in swimming, but I really hated it so i chose not to do it this year. I was always cold, and I really didn’t like the idea of being inside all of the time. I really don’t ever want to do any kind of competitive swimming other than when I do triathlons. I hope do a few triathlons this summer.
Do you plan to run AND swim in college or will you choose one or the other?
I definitely do not plan on swimming in college. I think it is a great exercise and excellent for cross training. I just plan on running in college and I can not wait!
What steps have you taken so far in regards to your college search and have you narrowed your search down at all? When should we expect to hear a verbal commitment from you?
I have not made a decision yet, but I have solid idea of where I want to go. When I decide I will make sure I let everyone know! I will decide by feb 6th which is signing day AND my birthday!
Thank you and good luck moving forward. We
are all looking forward to watching you next track season!