Interview with McQueen HS senior runner, Connor Ross

Personal Records
5000m. XC-15:27

1) What sports have you played aside from Track and Field and Cross Country?
I have played soccer, baseball, basketball, and football.

2) How did you get your start in Track and Field? What got you hooked on the sport?
In middle school, I ran the 400 in 58 seconds in P.E. class. It was two seconds off the school record. After that I competed on the middle school TF team and found a passion for it.

3) What do you remember about your Freshman Track and Field season? Highlights? Proudest accomplishments?
Freshman track was a fun season for me. Highlights included competing on the 4x400 team that placed 3rd at state. My proudest moment was filling in as an alternate for our best 400 runner on the 4x400 in the regional finals as anchor and finishing the relay third, qualifying it for state.

4) Did you do anything differently in preparation for your sophomore season? Highlights/proudest accomplishments from sophomore season?
Sophomore season I began to lift weights more often and increased my mileage to focus on the 800. Highlights of that season were setting the regional record in the 800 and getting 3rd at state in the 800 (with strep throat). Getting 3rd in the 4x400 and 3rd in the 4x800 at the state meet were also highlights.

5) You ran Cross Country for the first time as a junior? What took so long and how much convincing did it take for you to join the team?
My track coach took over the Cross Country team my junior and that put a lot more pressure for me to do it. Also, my teammate Kai Benedict (now fellow senior) had a fantastic sophomore season and convinced me that together we could win a state title. I had played two years of high school soccer in the two fall seasons before switching to cross country.

6) Highlights from your senior Cross Country season? What was your highest mileage total either in the summer or during the season? Longest run? Toughest workouts?
Highlights of my senior season of Cross Country were winning the regional meet individually along with the team title. The next week, I placed third at the state meet and my team won the team title with a team score of 27 points. My mileage reached around 50-60 at the height of my training. My hardest workout had to be 2 sets of 1000, 800, 600, 400 at goal pace with 30 seconds in between each one and 5 minutes between sets.

7) Tell us a little about McQueen HS. How big is the high school and where is it located in Nevada? Who are the other league schools? What are the steps to get to the Nevada state meet? How many sections? Furthest meets during the TF season?
McQueen HS is in Reno, Nevada. There are around 1,800 students. Other schools in the area are Galena HS, Reno HS and Reed HS. The steps to get to the state meet are: regional trials with top 8 in sprinting events moving on to finals the next week and top 12 in distance events move on, top 8 relays move to finals. At finals the top 3 in each event move onto the State Meet in each event. The furthest meets we attend our Arcadia, Mt. SAC and the Boise Indoor Invitational.

8) Aside from you, who are the current and past teammates who have done similarly well and may have also been mentors for you at McQueen?
Past teammates include Arnold Carrillo, a great sprinter now running at Southern Utah, Sebastian Feyersinger, another great sprinter now attending DePaul, and current teammate Kai Benedict have all helped me in training and racing and are all great competitors.

9) Who are the coach(es) that have helped you develop to the athlete you are today? (Could also be a parent, teacher or coach in another sport).
A lot of coaches have taught me to become the athlete I am. Coach Parise has definitely been the most influential in teaching me how to apply the work and self discipline in track to my everyday life.

10) Favorite TF individual event? Favorite TF relay event? Favorite TF Invitational? Favorite workout? Favorite opponent?
My favorite individual event is the 800. My favorite relay is the 4x400. My favorite invitational is Arcadia but that may change after competing in the New Balance Indoor Nationals in March. My favorite opponent is Arturo Sotomayor from Roseville, he beat me last year, but I beat him in Cross Country this year.

11) What meets are you most looking forward to this coming outdoor season? Goals? Have you decided what college to attend and if yes, where?
I am looking forward to the New Balance Nationals, Stanford Invitational, Arcadia and Mt. SAC. My goal is to run 1:51 (or below) in the 800. Also I hope to run 4:10 in the mile and 47 in the 400. I will be attending Georgetown University next year.

12) Tell us a little about the Run For The Dream meet this past weekend? Biggest difference running indoors?
The Run for the Dream is a fun meet where we get to compete against California schools and see gauge our current fitness. The biggest difference when running indoors is trying to settle in and hitting the right pace for each race.

13) What does a typical training week look like for you from Monday through Saturday? How often on the track? Long run distance? Morning runs? Weights?
Typical training week is: Monday - hills and weights, Tuesday - Long run and accelerations, Wednesday - Intervals and weights, Thursday - true speed and a long run, Friday - pre-meet, Saturday - Meet

Thank you very much for your time Connor! AJC