July 13, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Returning to competition after missing a year, redshirt sophomore Nicole Bush has stepped up as the No. 4 runner on the Spartan squad in 2006. A regular in the Michigan State lineup as a freshman, Bush produced a 34th-place finish at the Great Lakes Regional with a season-best time of 21:10.8.
Hoping to carry momentum from her freshman year, Bush hit a bump in the road early in the fall of her sophomore year, and was forced to miss the cross country season due to mononucleosis. Determined to recover for the 2006 track season, Bush excelled during the spring months. Turning in a school record time of 10:01.04, Bush placed fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Championships, garnering All-America honors.
With the 2006 Big Ten Cross Country Championships ahead of Bush this weekend, the Wyoming, Mich., native took time to reflect on her return to the course and the team's success this season.
Q: After sitting a season, how does it feel to compete again in cross country?
A: It feels good to be part of a team that is doing so well. Getting off the track and getting used to running on a course again was a little different, because I did so much track in a row without doing cross.
Q: As a runner, what adjustments do you have to make between cross country and track?
A: When you run on the track, it's the same thing and you know what to expect. But no (cross country) course is really the same, there are different variables - like the weather. If its raining, the track might just be wet, but if its raining during cross, there will be mud and the footing will be bad.
Q: What have been the keys to the team's success this season?
A: I think that a lot of people have had more consistent training without injuries. The dynamic is a lot different with the combined (men's and women's) programs. By combining, every one is more excited, there is more energy to feed off of. There are more people to pick you up if you're having a bad day.
Q: The coaching staff seems very excited with your presence. Do you see yourself as a leader?
A: I guess, but everyone is paying attention to everyone else, it's not just one person. Everyone is a part of the leadership. There is more of a respect factor for the upperclassmen and we do show the younger kids the ropes, but I'm not the only upperclassman.
Q: What's the team's mindset on going into the into the Big Ten Championships weekend?
A: We would like to do well. Nothing is impossible. We could finish anywhere, including really high up. I think people are talking about being top five, and I think that we have a chance of finishing a lot higher than that.