Which Whicher - An Interview

Photo provided by Sophie Whicher

Personal Records:

1600m - 5:05.40

3200m - 10:39.85

4K (xc) - 14:28.00

5K (xc) - 17:38.28

2017 T&F 3200m - 6th Place

2016 XC - 5th Place

2016 T&F 3200m - 4th Place

2015 XC - 7th Place

2015 T&F 3200m - 5th Place

Where were you born and what sports did you do when you were younger?

I was born in Minnesota.  Before I started running seriously, I swam competitively for a club team for almost seven years but stopped in grade eight when I found my love for running!  I also did fencing in the summers, alpine racing and Nordic Skiing in the winters, and had tried rowing.  I come from a family of rowers so this was something I grew up around; however nothing ever compared to the way running made me feel!

Which of those activities helped prepare you the most for distance running?

I definitely give a lot of credit to swimming and my past swim coaches.  Not only did it help improve my endurance and stamina, but it also helped a lot with lung power and controlling breathing.  I still like to utilize swimming to maintain these skills that are so beneficial to running.  Aside from the actual swimming, we also did dry land training and strength, lots of technique work, and goal setting.

When did you begin cross country and track & field?

I started running cross country and track in eighth grade.  I didn't really have any intentions or expectations going into it because I had joined randomly, but I'm so glad I did join because it changed my whole life. 

What obstacles did you have to overcome as an athlete?

My eleventh grade year I found out that I had really low ferritin (Iron) levels and this had been affecting my performances and how I was feeling in general.  One thing I took away from this was the importance of listening to your body.  The entire year I felt nothing like myself but never spoke up or went to the doctor to check in.  I didn't go in to find out what was wrong until the track season was pretty much over. 

Of course I cannot change the past, but if I had been in tune with my body, then this likely could have been prevented. Another lesson I learned from this experience was that it is so important to not look at disappointments as a mistake, but as a learning opportunity.  Whether you finish with the win or with a loss, there is always something to take away from the race. Use hardships as a platform to grow from.

Tell us about your summer preparation for cross country running.  What do you do in addition to running?

My summer training leading up to cross country emphasizes more quality (variety of fast paces) runs over quantity (miles). I incorporate cross training into my routine about one or two times a week, usually a longer session and a session with mixed intervals.  I also have a strength training regime that I do a few times a week and a calisthenics routine that I do.  I like to do PT/preventative exercises following gym sessions too. 

                                                               Photo provided by Sophie Whicher

Jane Reimer-Morgan is your head coach.  What does she emphasize once the season begins?

Once the season starts, Coach Jane has us doing a variety of different workouts.  We do pace and intervals, tempos, progressives, long runs, recovery runs, hills, speed, etc.  It all depends on the week and when we are racing!

What do practices look like at Minnetonka?

The team usually just sits or stands and talks while we wait for the coaches and captains to start warming up.  We do a mile jog with different dynamic drills.  This is followed by group stretching and leg swings.  We also do hurdle walks as often as we can.  Then we do plyometrics and accelerations.  There is more emphasis on dynamic movements before we run, and static stretching post run.

How do you cool down?

We will cool down after more challenging workouts.  The time changes depending on what coach plans for us to do.  We do have ice baths in the training room and started using them a lot more in the last couple years! 

What does your team do to prevent injuries?  Perhaps the team does not have special exercises but you do?  Explain a few of those.

We do strength/resistance exercises with dumbbells and medicine balls, daily core work, pushups, and other calisthenics. We also do hurdle walks, partner foot, ankle, and tendon stretching.  The coaches make sure that we are using proper form and technique on drills, stretching, and during runs.

Who have been your most influential teammates over the years?

All of my teammates now are a great bunch of girls!  We are all very close and push each other all while having fun.  Lucy Hoelscher graduated from Minnetonka in 2016, but she was definitely an influential role model to me and the girls on my team.  She was the oldest one on the varsity team so she took a more leading and guiding role to us.

Who have been your most difficult opponents?  Do you have friendly rivalries with some opponents?

I race the girls from the Lake Conference and Section 6AA a lot and love the fierce competition that comes from it!  I really just love competing so I am always up to racing anybody!  A lot of girls graduated this past year, but a couple returners on other teams that I enjoy racing include Emily Covert from Washburn, and Emily Kompelien from Edina.