El Paso Franklin freshman, Eva Jess is District 1-6A top runner this season and looks to claim the individual title. This week, Jess gets ready to compete in her first high school district championship. This is her first step into facing the bigger competition that awaits her at region and perhaps state.
Jess was kind enough to take the time to participate in a Q&A with TX MilesSplit.
TX MS - What are your thoughts on your freshman cross country season
EJ - It has been good so far. I have gone undefeated this season and I hope to continue it this Thursday. I'm happy my team has been doing good with me. We have won three meets, got second twice and only got third once this season.
TX MS - How different is it preparing for district vs a normal xc
EJ - This week Coach Laspada eased up the practices so our legs won't be tired for District. Every meet so far mine and the rest of the girls' legs have been tired.
EJ - Well my best so far, this season is 18:20 from the Rudy Alvarez Invitational but I ran 18:50 the last time at this course. So, I'm mostly just looking to improving on the time I ran the last time I was at Chamizal. If I run a personal best I will be ecstatic.
TX MS - Do you have any competitors you are keeping your eye on that may challenge you for the title?
EJ - Yes! I think Jannell could be a challenge for me, she has been thirty seconds behind me each meet. If she is feeling good she could close that gap.
TX MS - I heard that after one of your meets this season you raced an 8k, is it true?
EJ - Yes, that is very true. I've done it for a few years now so it has become like a tradition to run the race. Plus, it doesn't hurt that I enjoy the big trophies they give to the first-place finisher.
TX MS - How different is it competing in high school vs middle school?
EJ - Well post-race interviews and interviews in general are different from middle school. I have been interviewed more now that I'm in high school. Also, the 5k is a nice change too because I like it more than the two mile since I think I do better with the longer distance stuff. The biggest difference between the two is that there is more competition every week. It has been fun being challenged so many times by runners like Jannell and Skyler.
TX MS - Which sport do you like the most, track or cross?
EJ - I like cross country more than track. I'm not very good at the shorter distance stuff so cross county plays more into my strengths.
TX MS - How did you get into running?
EJ - Well my parents met during an ultra-marathon and they got me into it running when I was about five years old. I remember they would give me half a gummy bear every half mile to keep me going. I wish they still that for me but now they make just get my own water.
TX MS - Do you have any pre-race rituals, race day rituals or superstitions?
EJ - I pretty much do the same routine warm up at every meet that I go to. My mom also braids my hair for me on race day and I bring a stuffed doll of a monkey, it is my good luck charm. My monkey sits in the car though and watches the meet from there.
TX MS - What other passions besides running do you have?
EJ - I like to cook and bake with my mom and I enjoy making jewelry.
TX MS - Do you have a professional athlete that is your favorite and why?
EJ - Well I just recently did a project on Joan Benoit Samuelson and I learned a lot about her so she has become my favorite professional athlete. I think it is cool how she is the first-ever women's Olympic marathon champion and many of her accomplishments still stand today.
TX MS - What is your favorite type of food?
EJ - Easily mac and cheese in fact I just had that for dinner.
TX MS - What is the hardest workout you've ever had?
EJ - Some sprinting workout like we recently did some 100s or 200s and those are difficult for me. I don't have as much leg speed as some other girls so it's hard for me to hit my times on those.