Junior women’s cross country runner Mikayla Murphy placed seventh out of more than 100 participants in the NCAA DIII West Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 14, earning her the chance to represent UC Santa Cruz in the NCAA Championships this weekend in Cleveland, Ohio. City on a Hill Press spoke with Murphy about her accomplishment and the team’s season as a whole.
City on a Hill Press: How do you feel about representing UC Santa Cruz at the NCAA DIII National Championships?
Mikayla Murphy: I’m really excited. It’s really cool because I know we don’t get much representation in athletics, so to be able to go to Ohio and have the Slug uniform on is great.
CHP: What do you feel attributed to the success you had this season on the UCSC women’s cross country team?
MM: My whole entire team worked hard and I worked hard, too. I think it was consistent running and coming to practice every day — you can’t really argue with that.
CHP: What would you say is the most important component to being a successful cross country runner?
MM: The thing about running that I really like is that it’s really how much work and time you put into it and how much pain you’re willing to put yourself in — it’s really about how much you want it. It’s also about being able to stay healthy and I’ve been really lucky to not be injured this year so I’ve been able to train.
CHP: How would you say the team did as a whole this year? What were the high and low points of the season?
MM: This is the most competitive my team has ever been. We’ve worked so hard and came together as a team a lot more than ever before. The only thing is that we had a tough break at Regionals; it was a bad day that didn’t reflect our skills and it was hard for our team to end on that note, [but] I’m really grateful and lucky that I get one more shot at it at Nationals.
CHP: The team finished eleventh out of 17 teams in the Regionals last weekend, which unfortunately was not enough to make it to Nationals. What do you think were some of the reasons for this result?”
MM: It’s hard. We don’t know why and it was frustrating and definitely hard to have a day like that, but that’s what running is and you have to be willing to bounce back and be vulnerable again. We have to work on whatever it was — nerves or tired legs — for next time.
CHP: What are the team’s goals to improve going into next season?
MM: We were a young team and we have no seniors, so I think another consistent year of training and racing more is going to make a big difference, [as well as] having another year together.
CHP: What is your strategy going into the championships this weekend? How do you feel you will do?
MM: It’s a hard race for me after coming off a race that wasn’t my best … [but] I would love to get a personal record for my 6K and I think I have the ability to do that. It’s just a matter of being able to control my mind and legs that day.