Catching up with Austin Roth
Nov. 11, 2010
As the Texas men's cross country team goes into the NCAA South Central Regional in Waco, Texas this Saturday, it returns a majority of the runners from last year's team. The Longhorns do, however, have a number of runners competing in this race for the first time. Sophomore Austin Roth was in the same position a year ago. As the only freshman who traveled to the Regional, Roth knows how it feels to race in such an important meet for the first time.
Roth has used his experience from a year ago to help him guide the freshmen and to help him improve upon his own running. TexasSports.com was able to talk to the Dallas native about the cross country season, his experience from a year ago and the family atmosphere within the cross country program.
How do you feel going into the NCAA Regional race? The team is hoping to get top two. We have a solid group of guys. Everyone has improved on what they were last year. We've been working hard throughout this year. This is really where it starts to count. We're not looking to go out there and blow it out. We're looking to do our job. Our goal is to get to Terre Haute to the national championships.
What have you learned about your team this year? We've learned we have a lot of depth. We haven't raced a lot, but our top 10 guys at Princeton were faster than our first man was last year at that race. We know we've improved a lot. We still have to be able to get it done at (the regional meet).
How has your experience of traveling as a freshman helped you this year? It's good because I know what these freshmen are going to be experiencing. Last year the regional was a hard race for me. I was kind of a little burned out. I didn't have the best race. I finished seventh man. Because it was a 10K, it was a completely different event. It was especially hard. I know some of the other guys have had a hard race here their first time. Guys like Ryan Dohner consistently have been at the top of our squad. He's been our first guy for the last two races we've won. I think he'll have a great race. I've been telling the freshmen about what to expect. I think they'll race well.
How is a 10K different than the 8K's you've run the last couple of races? The 10K is about a mile and a quarter longer than an 8K. 8K is hard enough, but adding an extra mile is a pretty big difference. It's not long enough where you can go into a race thinking you're approaching it differently. Really all you can do is go in a tiny bit conservatively and trust that your fitness is going to take you through that last 2K. We've been working all season on strength to help us at regionals and nationals. It will be like any other race. We just have to fight through that last little bit.
What is the atmosphere like at an important race like regionals? It's pretty nerve racking. While Big 12's was a big race, regionals is really the one that counts. Everyone wants to go in there and try to be one of the top two teams. We have a little bit of an advantage that it's a serious possibility we go. We need to stay mentally relaxed and know that while we are one of the top teams, we can't take it for granted and we still have to perform well. We can't get too involved in trying to go for the win. It's all about being in the top two.
How has the cross country team been able to keep a family atmosphere the last few years? We only lost one guy from last year and that's Habben [Berhane]. Everyone's stayed real close. We've added a few more guys to our family. We've adopted them into our family. We've kept the same atmosphere and same feel towards the team.