One of the top Division III runners in the state hails from Fresno HS in the Central Section. Senior Evert Silva didn't even run cross country or track and field as a freshman but made up for lost time with an outstanding junior season on the track securing PRs of 4:16.01 and 9:02.46. This current cross country season, Silva has been well traveled with a 6th place finish at the Woodbridge Invitational (14:22.4), a 5th place finish at the Stanford Invitational (15:00.0), a 6th place finish at the Clovis Invitational and 14:59.0 time (2nd place in his race) at the Mt. SAC Invitational.
1) When and what led you to start running? What was your first high school experience?
I first did XC in 6th grade. I don't remember what led me to the sport but I ended up out there. I always knew that I had good endurance so I'm sure that was a factor in why I tried it. My first high school experience was scary but humbling because in middle school I was used to always being top 2 and then my sophomore year I ended up 17th in my first race.
2) When did you first realize that you had the potential to be a very good runner?
I knew I had the potential to be a good runner mid way through my junior year of xc because of the substantial progress I had made in my times. I realized then that I could win a section title that same year and I told myself that considering that I had just started running sophomore year, I had the potential to be a valley champ and get way faster. I did run 6th and 8th grade but it wasn't serious and I stopped completely after 8th grade and started my sophomore year again.
3) Looking back at your sophomore seasons in XC and TF, what do you feel was your best race in each sport?
My best xc race in my sophomore year would be hard to narrow down considering I was in bad shape and didn't know how to race well just yet. It felt like each race, I ran I was dead after a mile haha. However, in track my best race would be the mile at the valley championships ( section meet ). I ran 4:26 for a PR and that concluded my season.
4) What about your junior seasons in both sports? Proudest accomplishments?
Best xc race my Jr year would have to be the Rough Rider invite at Woodward park where I ran my 15:46 pr and got 2nd to Lalo Herrera. In track, my best race had to be the 3200 meter at the State Meet because I had a huge 14 second PR of 9:02. My previous best was 9:16 and I was able to beat some of the top notch guys I had watched on YouTube or heared about on MileSplit and stuff.
5) Did you do anything differently this summer as you prepared for your current cross country season? What did you learn your junior XC season that you feel will help you this year especially during your post season races?
I prepared differently this summer while I prepped for the season by trying to get a consistent base. Our new coach was a big help because we constantly ran before the season. This summer was actually the only summer I've run throughout the summer because before my junior xc season, I ran only about 3 weeks over summer and it was very inconsistent. I tried upping my mileage a bit as well. My Jr year, I learned that if I wanted to be competitive or make a name for myself in this sport, I was going to have to do a lot of work and for that reason I've been working hard since track season last year and slowly it's coming together. I feel like what I'm doing will help me with post season races because I've been in many situations with a lot of great runners and when I trust my training I've always stepped up when it matters.
6) Looking back at your races this season, what do you feel was your best race? What was your plan going into the race?
Looking back at this season, I feel that my best race was the Mt. SAC invite. In all my other races this season, I wasn't able to close well but in that race, I closed about a 7 second gap at the finish line so my finishing speed is really coming together well. My plan going in was to work every hill to mentally prepare myself for the state course so that the small hills won't faze me there. I was racing to win and wasn't worried about time that day.
7) Who is your coach and how has he helped you get to your current level as a runner?
My new coach is Jesus Campos, a marathoner from the Central Valley who has impacted my season so much. He has more knowledge than my previous coach in regards of training so he has me doing quality work and so far it's been great. He runs with me on long runs which is a great help now instead of being alone.
8) What does a typical week look like for you as far as training? How many workouts? Typical weekly mileage? Length of your long run? Pace for most of your "easier" runs? Any morning runs?
A typical week of training for me consists of a long run anywhere from 12-14 miles with about 3 days of aerobic miles to recover from workouts and typically 2 workouts a week. I don't run much mileage I stay in about 50-55 miles a week. Most of my moderate days I'll run at around 7:45-8:15 pace it all just depends on how I feel. We have some double days where we'll get in the weight room in the mornings and some mileage as well.
9) Who have been or are your running role models (on your own team as well as opponents)?
Role model in this sport would have to be Eduardo " Lalo " Herrera (Madera South) because he's the main reason I got serious in this sport. When I saw him win a section title his junior year, I told myself I wanted to win one as well. I had the opportunity to do it my Jr year but it didn't go as planned and ended up losing that race which really motivates me for this season. He was a close rival my whole Jr year which meant I raced him lots of times and watching his dominance in the Valley made me want to try and give him a run for his money before he left to Colorado haha. The fact that my sophomore year I was nowhere near him and that within one year, I was challenging him at times really motivated me. I'm glad he was in the same section as me because he's someone I ended up looking up to just as many other runners did in our section.
10) Favorite XC Invitational? Favorite XC course? Favorite XC workout? Favorite TF Invitational? Favorite TF event? Favorite training partner? Favorite movie? Favorite song? Favorite free time activity?
My favorite xc invite would have to be Mt.SAC for sure even though I've only done it once. It was a lot of fun because of the big hills and the atmosphere. Favorite workout is a mixture of 200's or 300's because it's mainly speed and it's different than running long distances all the time. Favorite track Invitational would be Arcadia although I haven't been there because of my coaches in the past. I know this year it'll be a great experience. Favorite movie would be "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas ". Song, wow that's a tough one I have a lot of different songs I like. Favorite free time activity would be just being outdoors there's not much to do in the city of Fresno or else I'd hike through nature but we have nothing but busy roads. Training partner I don't quite have anyone to train with besides my coach on long runs.
11) Have you made your college choice yet and if not, how much of a factor will running be when it comes to deciding what college to attend?
My college choice is still not decided I'm still waiting to see what schools will offer me so I my options are open right now Running will be a factor when it comes time to choose because that's one of the main reasons I'm getting the opportunity to go to college. I'd definitely want to go to a good program to continue and pursue running because I've always just been an individual runner and never had a team to make a national meet or compete for titles with and that's something I'd want to experience.
Thank you very much for your time Evert! AJC