Nov. 8, 2012
The No. 22 Texas Women's Cross Country team will look to qualify for its third-straight NCAA Championships berth on Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., at the NCAA South Central Regional Championships. Junior Brittany Marches is coming off one of her best performances of the 2012 season, scoring fourth for the Longhorns to help the team to a third-place finish at the Big 12 Championships on Oct. 27 in Austin.
Marches sat down with TexasSports.com to discuss the strength of the 2012 Texas team and the pride behind wearing the Longhorn name.
TexasSports.com: Talk a little about this year's team.
TS: How is the team feeling heading into the South Central Region meet this week?
Brittany Marches: This season especially I've really seen how cross country is a team sport and the chemistry among everyone this year I think is really, really good. I feel like we just match. As we go to practice every day and see each other every day, you kind of become a big family. We all just really care about each other and want to see each other succeed and reach the goals we set for ourselves and for the team. And even on such a large team like the one we have this year, everyone brings their own piece and it's cool. In high school, a lot of us didn't really have a lot of team dynamics, so coming into something that is really team-based at the college level is really cool.
BM: We are approaching Regionals as, `Alright, let's do the best we can, let's actually perform how we know we can and how (coach) Steve (Sisson) knows we can.' It kind of goes into the whole competing as a team thing, too. Five people score in the race, and we all have to be there and run well in order to succeed. Our team goal is to go to Nationals and compete really well, so I'd say our mentality is focused. We know what our goal is, we know what we're supposed to do and we're ready to do what we need to do.
TS: How would you describe Coach Sisson's coaching style?
BM: Steve is really in tune with each individual and I feel like it's a really unique thing. He sees us every day for practice and he can read us really well and knows if we're stressing about something. He does have individual relationships with all of us and knows what to say to help them individually. What I really like about Steve and his coaching is that he understands that we have other things going on, and I think that's awesome. One semester there was a class I had to take that interfered with afternoon track practice and he was okay for me to sign up for it and run on my own or come late to practice. So there is that flexibility, which I think is awesome.
TS: How important is mental preparedness in cross country?
BM: When you're mentally in a good place, it puts you physically in a good place. If you're mentally destroyed, everything goes downhill. Everyone wants to perform to her fitness level and sometimes practice might be going well and our fitness might be there, but the races aren't really showing for it. But the conference meet was a pleasant surprise for me from a mental standpoint. Big 12s was the first race this season where I felt I was truly mentally and physically in a good place and I was really happy with the result.
TS: Talk a little about your life outside of running at Texas.
BM: My major is biology and I want to be a veterinarian. It's what I've wanted to be since I was young. I have a lot of pets. Here in Austin I have a dog, Pretty Girl, and a cat, Tortilla. I've lived off campus all four years because I really wanted to bring my pets and I refused to go to college without them.
TS: What does being a Longhorn mean to you?
BM: I thought about this during last track season when I sat down and thought, `I'm actually wearing a Texas uniform.' It's a really cool feeling, knowing how strong Texas is in sports as well as academics. And I just love the atmosphere here among the student-athletes. All of the teams here have so much love for Texas and bleed burnt orange and I think that's what makes it really awesome is just how much they love Texas and how much they are willing to do for it.