5 Questions with Cross Country's Deborah Maier

Oct. 26, 2009

BERKELEY - Sophomore Deborah Maier is in the midst of a strong season for the Bears, having led Cal in her two most recent races at the Stanford Invitational and the Pre-Nationals Invitational. Last year as a freshman, she finished the season as the team's top runner, as well, at the Pac-10 and NCAA regional meets. Maier later went on to help Cal's distance medley relay capture third place at the MPSF indoor championships, and she posted the Bears' best times in the 1500 and 5000 meters outdoors.

CalBears.com recently sat down with Maier to get her thoughts on the 2009 cross country season as Cal prepares for this weekend's Pac-10 meet in Long Beach.

How at the season gone so far?
Individually, it's gone surprisingly well because I was injured for almost all of the summer and just did a lot of biking and didn't start running until August. I was worried I would be a little behind, but once my legs caught up, the aerobic fitness was there. As a team, practices and workouts have been going really well. I think with the big races coming up and as we taper, things will start falling into place. We have a really young team. For the freshmen, I think it will help a lot now that they've had a few races and kind of know what to do now. It's a big step from high school to college. Most of the rest of us are sophomores, so we're figuring it out, as well. I think we're just going to get better with experience.

How difficult is it to transition from high school to college running?,br>People say it takes a year to get adjusted to college. When you come in, you think, how can it take a year? But I found that was really true. You're not used to the level of training, so many miles and so much intensity. You just field tired the whole first semester. You try to factor in school and getting adjusted to living away from home. I started feeling like I was adjusted to it more towards track season [in the spring]. So, now that I've done cross country once before, I feel like I know what's going on and don't need to ask someone all the time.

Do you believe the team has a good chance to qualify for nationals this fall?
I think we do. In the Kolas Calculator, which is like a ranking system, we're ranked 34th, and 32 teams make it to nationals. We're not putting quite as much emphasis on Pac-10s [this weekend] as regionals because we want to train right through it so we can have our best showing at regionals when it really matters. We're still focusing on Pac-10s, but keeping regionals in the back of our minds.

Do you prefer running cross country or competing in track & field?
In many ways, I like them both. I can't really pick one. It's kind of like when each one comes around I say I like that one better when I'm in the moment. I really like cross country because it has more of the team aspect as well. In track, you still train with a lot of people on the team. In cross country, you're running the same distance with a bunch of other people that are on your team. You want to do well and push yourself to help the team out. We are really team-oriented in our goals. We want to do well as a team and the way you do that is doing well individually. You have that in the back of your mind for motivation when you're feeling tired during a race. We've been doing a good job of staying together in workouts. Hopefully, that will translate well to races once we taper and get ready for the bigger meets.

You've had four siblings attend Cal. Did that make it an easy decision to come here, as well?
I'm the youngest of seven and four out of the six older ones came here, and the other two went to UC Davis. Growing up, I always had Cal in the back of my mind as a possible college choice. But when it came time to it, Cal wasn't originally my No. 1. It took a while for me to take a trip here or there to understand why people in my family did like Cal. It was mostly an independent decision. It came down to Cal and another school, and it was a tough decision. But I'm glad I made the choice to come to Cal because it has all worked out really well. It's hard to beat Cal's great athletics and academics. Berkeley has a great climate for training.

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