Q&A With Meghan Lawrence

Oct. 14, 2004

Who's That Girl? That was the question on the lips of many Husky fans when senior Meghan Lawrence, previously unlisted on any UW roster, ran No. 1 for Washington at the season-opening Emerald City Invitational. A fifth-year senior at UW, Lawrence walked onto the squad just a week prior to the Emerald City meet, and earned official NCAA clearance mere hours before the race. Lawrence's team-best seventh-place finish at Emerald City and impressive work in training have earned the Bellingham, Wash., native a seat on the plane to Pre-Nationals, where she will be one of 10 Huskies battling the nation's best on Saturday. GoHuskies.com reporter Kortney Kinzer talked with Lawrence Wednesday about her decision to join the squad, and her plans for the future.

GoHuskies.com: What made you decide to join cross country as a fifth year senior?
Lawrence: 'I just realized that I was fast enough to join the team, actually. A year ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of even trying. Then I was just training on my own and one day I did this treadmill run. It was three miles and I was running late to meet a friend, so I ran it quickly and I did it pretty fast. I thought maybe I should e-mail the coach and see if I could try out. If I had realized that I could of a couple years ago I would have, but I think it's really the training I've done in the past four years that have gotten me to this point. '

GH: What sort of training have you done?
Lawrence: 'I've done marathon training. I've run a couple marathons and so I think that is really what's given me the mileage base that I needed to get fast enough to be a part of the team.'

GH: So how exactly did you go about joining the team?
Lawrence: 'We had a time trial run at the beginning of the season about a week before the first race. That was my tryout. We did a four-mile run and one of the coaches decided that was fast enough to be a part of the team, and see where things went.'

GH: You and Husky teammate Kira Harrison both went to Meridian High School in Bellingham. Did you know each other there?
Lawrence: 'Yeah, we did. We played soccer together and we ran on track together. We knew each other pretty well.'

GH: 'Did she influence your decision to join the UW squad at all?
Lawrence: 'Not at all. I've always admired Kira; she has a lot of talent and she's a great girl. It was just when I realized I had the potential that I decided to try to join. I had tons of fun with Kira. She is sort of an inspiration to me. I think she is a really tough runner. I admire her. I admire a lot of the girls on the team that I have gotten to meet. It's a pleasure to run with them. Basically, I just consider it a huge blessing. It's just like, `Wow this is out of nowhere.''

GH: In high school you participated in soccer and track, not cross country. What made you decide not to continue with soccer and track when you first started in college?
Lawrence: 'At the time, I didn't enjoy track a whole lot. I was really into soccer, but I'm just not good enough to play at college. So, I just started running, really to stay in shape at college, and here I am now.'

GH: Your first cross country event was the Emerald City Invite. What was that experience like?
Lawrence: 'Yeah, I was first on the team. There is one girl that's a senior who is amazing -- Jamie Gibbs. She didn't have her best race. I think normally she would have beaten me by quite a bit. I didn't really know what I was doing. I just went out and ran hard. That's the only thing I knew how to do. It was kind of a tough course. It was hilly, and I think that's what served me well -- I'm sort of a stronger runner. I surprised myself. I had no idea what was going to happen, it was my first cross country race ever.'

GH: What were your feelings like after that first meet?
Lawrence: 'It sort of felt surreal, like I couldn't really believe that I had done that well in that race. I didn't know what to expect, so it felt a little bit surreal. I was also really excited -- excited to see where this went and to see how much I improved. I feel like I'll improve a lot since I am still new to this. I was happy with how it went, and I was glad that the coach was happy with how it went.'

GH: The coaches have chosen you as one of top-10 traveling to the Pre-National Meet in Indiana. How did you feel when first learned of that decision?
Lawrence: 'I think that maybe this [the Pre-National Meet] is something they are going to use to test me out. There's other girls on the team that aren't going to the Pre-National Invite that have tons of potential. They could be traveling in the next races, and maybe I won't be there. I am just going to go and have fun and bust my butt and see what happens. I have this one year, so I want to have a `carpe diem' attitude about it and go out and do everything I can in that one year. We'll see what happens.'

GH: Do you have any expectations for this season?
Lawrence: 'I still am new to cross country so it's hard for me to know what to expect. I have big expectations for our team. I think that our team is gonna do really well and I am excited about that. I am excited to see how we do and to be a part of that.'

GH: What is your opinion of being on the team so far?
Lawrence: 'They're a great group of girls. It's a blast to be here.'

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