Monday, November 24, 2008

Catching up with. .. Matt DeBole

Matt DeBole finished off a great career as a Hoya this past summer. Matt competed at the Olympic Trials in the 1500 meters after qualifying for the event with a 3:40.73 performance at Princeton’s Larry Ellis Invitational in April. At the Olympic Trials Matt ran 3:43.32 to place 9th in his preliminary heat and captured an at-large spot to advance to the semi-final where he ran 3:45.20 for 10th place.

SSC: You competed in the 1500 at the Olympic Trials this summer, what was the experience like?

MD: I'd say the experience was 100% positive. This year, it was a goal for me to qualify and compete well at the Trials, and I certainly accomplished both goals. The experience gives me confidence in Coach Henner's and my own ability to set high goals and achieve them.

SSC: Can you describe the atmosphere both while racing and while you were spectating?

MD: It was certainly the most electric atmosphere in which I have competed. The crowd was into every event and packed the stands. I was grateful to be there as an athlete but also as a spectator to see some spectacular events.

SSC: What is the biggest thing you learned from racing at the Olympic Trials?

MD: I learned that I belong at the elite level of competition- that I can mix it up with the nation's best.

SSC: Is it intimidating racing against mostly professional runners when you’re still a collegiate athlete?

MD: No, I've raced against most of the "professionals" while we were both in college so that experience isn't new. I like to frame racing against the professionals more as an opportunity for a collegiate runner to knock a chip off their shoulder.

SSC: Did you ever feel as though you were at a disadvantage compared to most of the other guys in the race because they are professionals and you were a collegiate athlete?

MD: I thought the collegiate runners were actually at an advantage in terms of being able to handle the rounds of qualifying. In college, you are used to running multiple times on multiple days which is something many of the professionals do not get to practice. Knowing my ability to perform at my best multiple times in a weekend gave me more confidence.

SSC: Is there any special workout you like to do before a big race to know that you’re ready to go?

MD: There really isn't a staple workout. Mentally challenging workouts, the ones that make you dig really deep, signal to me that I'm ready to go. Also, we'll usually put together a time trial of sorts 10 days prior which is a good indicator of whether I'm ready to go or not.

SSC: You had Andrew Bumbalough to train with all the way through the trials, how much and what kind of a difference does it make for you to have somebody like that to train with everyday?
MD: I have to say that it's a double-edged sword. It's awesome having a good friend like Andrew there doing the same workouts and runs. We push each other in practice and are able to hangout when we're done. However, it's also difficult to remind yourself that you're one of the best in the country when your teammate is right there doing the same thing with the same goals. Sometimes it's also difficult to turn the competitive switch on and off when talking running with him. I want him to do well and accomplish his goals, yet one of my goals is to also beat him.

SSC: You’re now finished with your collegiate eligibility, so what are your plans now?

MD: My number one priority is to train hard this fall and race fast this summer. Fortunately, I'm currently in a great position to do so. I am volunteer assistant coaching with the Georgetown Cross Country team and have a part-time job in the Physical Therapy Dept. in the Georgetown Hospital. I hope to be back in Eugene, OR at the Olympic Trials in 2012 competing for a spot on the Olympic team.

Congratulations - XC results - Women 9th & Men 10th at NCAAs

After winning the Big East and Mid Atlantic Region Championships, the men took 10th at NCAAs, led by Andrew Bumbalaugh's 11th place finish.

On the women's side, Liz Maloy led the Hoyas to a ninth place finish.

Details to follow. . .;_LANG