One of the best runners in California, Liam Anderson, is starting out as a junior this current Cross Country season. In his first two years, Anderson posted some terrific PRs including 4:11.74 (4th at 2017 California State Track and Field meet) and 9:03.40 (2nd behind Cooper Teare at 2017 NCS MOC meet). At the 2016 California state XC meet, Anderson finished in 2nd place in the Division III race with a time of 15:05.3. His time qualified him for the NXN Nike Cross Nationals as one of the five fastest performers at the state meet. He finished a very impressive 22nd at that meet and started this season as the 9th ranked runner in the entire nation.
1) What sports did you play before high school? Who motivated you to start running?
Before high school, I played baseball and soccer starting around kindergarten. In middle school, after running the mile in P.E, my P.E. teacher (who was also the middle school track/XC coach) encouraged me to join the team. She motivated me to work hard and taught me to love running.
2) Any racing experience before high school? PRs?
In terms of racing experience prior to high school, my middle school cross country season consisted of four or five races each around 2k and during track season I ran the 1200m. Also, each spring some friends and I would race in a sprint distance triathlon, mostly just for fun. The high point of my middle school career was a 4:57 1600m I ran towards the end of 8th grade.
my P.E. teacher (who was also the middle school track/XC coach) encouraged me to join the team. She motivated me to work hard and taught me to love running.
I'd say the highlight of my freshman year cross country season was getting second at NCS, and my track highlight was getting to really improve my strength as the season progressed and learning to push myself.
4) Who were the runners that you looked up to as a freshman that were great mentors for you?
Freshman year, I really looked up to Andy Ehrenbergh who was a senior on my team at the time, who now competes for UCLA.
5) Your sophomore cross country season culminated at NXN after running 15:05.3 at the CA state meet. What was that experience like racing in Portland?
Racing at NXN was a great experience and it was really rewarding to be able to test myself against some of the top runners in the country.
6) You had a terrific sophomore year in track and field this past spring. What do you feel was your best race of the season? Other highlights?
I think my best race this past track season was my 1600 at state-it was hot and I was tired from racing four times in the previous week, but I was content with how I was able to perform against some solid competition. Another highlight from track was my 1600 at the Dublin Distance Fiesta in March. I got spiked 250m into the race and lost a shoe, but still ended up running 4:20.
7) Did you do anything differently this summer as you prepared for your junior year? What races are you most looking forward to this cross country season?
My summer training was no different than previous summers, just more rigorous and intense. I'm looking forward to racing at Woodward Park, both for Clovis and at the state meet, and I'm excited to see what's in store for me after the state meet.
8) Tell us a little about your coaches and how they have helped you develop into the runner you are today.
Laura and Jake Schmitt (Jake was 2004 state XC champ in 2004 with a time of 15:14) are incredible. Their coaching has shaped me into the runner I am today. They've shown me how to work hard, and they've given me all the tools I need to be successful. Day in and day out they've shown me not only how to be a better runner, but how to be a better person.
9) What does a typical training week look like for you? Typical mileage? Morning runs?
We do approximately 40 miles a week, split up between two long runs, two workouts, and regular days. Generally, during school, we run in the afternoon, and on weekends we run first thing in the morning.
Day in and day out they've shown me not only how to be a better runner, but how to be a better person.
10) Favorite cross country invitational? Favorite cross country course? Favorite cross country workout? Favorite long run? Favorite track and field event? Favorite track and field invitational? Favorite track workout? Favorite running opponent? Favorite Redwood XC/TF tradition? Favorite free time activity?
Favorite XC invite: Clovis
Favorite XC course: Woodward Park
Favorite XC workout: 4x 4min easy 4min tempo 4min hard
Favorite track event: Mile
Favorite track invite: Mt. SAC
Favorite track workout: 16x400m
Favorite running opponent: tough to say
Favorite redwood tradition: the obligatory post-race trip to Chipotle
Favorite free time activity: surfing
11) Looking back at your first two high school competitive years, what did you learn that you can share with other young talented runners?
I've learned that if you're willing to put in the work, you'll get the results you want. Running is a very straightforward sport in that all you need to do to place higher is to run faster, and you get there simply by training harder.
Thank you very much for your time, Liam! AJC