Sophomore leads XC into NCAA West Regionals
By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information
Eastern Washington University cross country runner Kyle King and five other runners will compete this Saturday (Nov. 14) at the 2009 NCAA West Regional Championships, which is hosted by the University of Oregon at the Springfield Country Club in Springfield, Ore.
King is just a sophomore, and is a 2008 graduate of Coupeville (Wash.) High School, located on Whidbey Island North of Seattle. He is coming off an 18th place finish at the Big Sky Conference Championships on Oct. 31 with a time of 26:51.7 in the 8,000-meter race.
The course for Saturday's race will be 10,000-meters. At the West Regionals last season, King finished 157th in the 10,000 with a time of 33:52.44 in Stanford, Calif.
King's best 8,000-meter performance this season was on Sept. 19 in the Sundodger Invitational with a time of 24:18.97, finishing seventh. Also a star in the classroom, King was named one of the scholar-athletes of the month for September by the Eastern Washington University athletics department. The native of Coupeville, Wash., is majoring in business administration and has a 3.42 grade point average. He also earned Big Sky All-Academic honors as a freshman in both cross country and outdoor track and field.
Q: How did this year's Big Sky Championships go for
A: "Big Sky Championships were definitely a disappointment this year. I was hoping to place in the top five this year but I ended up finishing 18th, three places back from my 15th place finish last year. It was just a bad day really. About a mile in I felt more winded than normal -- maybe because of the elevation. I just started fading after that point and couldn't get into my groove."
Q: What does cross country do for you in general?
A: "Cross country does many things for me. Running in general is really the main thing I've focused my life on for the past four years. It becomes the deciding factor in almost all of the decisions I make in my life. There are many days that going for a run is the last thing that I want to do but there are also times that are unparalleled by anything. Moments such as cresting the top of Homers Hill (North of town) at dusk where you get an eye full of pink skies and golden wheat fields and the only thing you hear is footsteps and wind. There's something spiritual about these moments that you realize you love the sport and all of the aches and pains it entails."
Q: What does Alex Smyth's recent quadricep injury mean for your team?
A: "It definitely hurt us this year since he is undoubtedly one of the best runners on our team. He's going to have to sit out at West Regionals so our team score won't be where it should."
Q: Apparently your brother is a great runner too?
A: "Yes. He's a junior this year in high school and just ran like a boss at the state championships, placing fifth in the 4A race this past weekend. It's really inspirational for me going into West Regionals."
Q: What is your goal for the West Regionals?
A: "I'm hoping to finish in the top 25 and potentially get one of the four individual spots to nationals. The west region is by far the best region in the nation and therefore breaking top 25 will be very difficult. I'm just going to hope I feel good and then we'll see what happens."
Q: What are your goals for the remainder of your
A: "By the time I've graduated I'd like to be All-American in all three sports -- cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. If I accomplish this I think I should be able to run professionally after school. That's the dream."
Q: What do you attribute to your success in your
A: "I'd have to say that my high school teachers back in Coupeville prepared me pretty well. They had really high expectations in the classroom and so I was able to adjust to the college workload fairly easily."