Thursday's Conversation With Boise State's David Elliott
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Welcome to Thursday’s Conversation. Each week, one Mountain West student-athlete will be featured by answering a series of questions.
Joining the conversation this week is Boise State’s David Elliott. Fresh off his victory at the 2014 Mountain West Men’s Cross Country Championship in Fresno, California (he finished the 8K course in 23:38.70), the senior from Bellingham, Washington, will look to qualify for nationals when he and the Broncos toe the line Friday in Palo Alto, California, site of the 2014 NCAA West Regional.
The top two teams from each of the nine regional sites earn automatic bids into the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships, while 13 additional teams will be selected to round out the 31-team field. In addition, the top two runners on non-qualifying teams at each regional will earn at-large bids to nationals.
Question: You’re coming off an impressive win at the 2014 Mountain West Men’s Cross Country Championship. What are your expectations for Friday’s NCAA West Regional meet in Palo Alto, California?
Answer: I’m going into regionals with a lot of confidence coming off the win. The Mountain West is a great conference, so it was a big confidence boost to win. One of my goals this year was to win the Mountain West conference meet, and I did that. The biggest goal was to be an All-American, but I first have to get to nationals to make that happen, so that’s the next goal is to get to Indiana either as a team or individually. I feel like if I run like I’m capable of at regionals, I should be running in Indiana.
Q: You made quite a leap in the Conference meet in terms of finish, going from 20th in 2013 to winning the race this year. What changed for you in the span of 12 months?
A: I now know I can measure up to any runner I’m competing against. I used to be a running nerd and look at results and PR’s of people I’d be racing against and I’d see those times and it was intimidating. Now, I just ignore all of that and I just treat everyone as equals and I feel like I can run with anyone on a given day. When I show up on the line, I’m just as likely as anyone to stay up at the front of the pack and have a chance to win.
Q: Did the race in Fresno unfold the way you expected it to?
A: The day before the race, I made a mistake during our practice and didn’t run through the finish. So, when we got into the race, I didn’t know what the finish looked like. We were probably 600 meters from the finish and one of the New Mexico guys made a push, and I thought we were closer to the finish than we were so I started sprinting. Ultimately, I think that’s what won the race for me, even though the finish line was farther away from what I anticipated.
Q: When you crossed the tape in Fresno, what was that feeling like?
A: When I crossed the finish line, the accomplishment seemed more realistic once I had achieved it. It was really exciting and invigorating. My family was there to see it, so to celebrate with them and my teammates was a great moment.
Q: Out of all the races you’ve competed in the past four years, which one has been your favorite?
A: The West Regional in Sacramento last year was memorable because our team ran great. We didn’t have great MW meet and then two weeks later we flipped it around and had a great meet. We put three runners in top-20, our fourth runner was 26th, our fifth was 54th and we finished fourth in the region and almost made it to nationals. The team put it all together that day.
Q: What do you like to do for fun when you’re not training or competing?
A: When it’s nice outside, I like to go to a park about five miles up the Boise River, get on a raft and float. It takes about three hours and you wind up finishing the ride near campus. It’s a lot of fun and on a 100-degree day, it’s nice to just get on the river and relax.
Do you have a student-athlete you’d like to see featured in an upcoming Thursday's Conversation? Contact Dan Johnson at djohnson@TheMW.com