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TMCNet:  Q&A with All-Area girls cross country runner JF's Erin Saunders

[January 10, 2013]

Q&A with All-Area girls cross country runner JF's Erin Saunders

Jan 10, 2013 (The News & Advance - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Erin Saunders, Jefferson Forest sophomore What will you remember the most from this past season At the [Group AA] state meet [at Great Meadow on Nov. 10], when I helped my team get to the podium [for its third-place team showing]. That was a really special moment. I remember just finishing and taking off my spikes [to turn in the timing chip], knowing I was done and I ran my hardest. That was the best I could do and we'll just see what happens.

What would you like to forget I also do play soccer and basketball and [JF's] soccer team is really competitive so if you don't play soccer in the fall, you won't keep your skills up and be as beneficial to the team in the spring. On some days, I was a little sore from soccer, it was hard to balance it all from school and soccer. Cross country practice would be right after school and I wouldn't go home first -- I'd get in the car and go straight from cross country practice to soccer practice, so it was a little hard on my body. [But] that actually kind of helped me because I think the cross training helped me stay injury-free.

Which team/individual did you consider your biggest competition Honestly, I didn't have a main competitor. I was just going to go out there and run my hardest. [At the state meet,] I was making sure I beat as many Blacksburg runners as I could because they're the best team. E.C. Glass was a big competitor, too, and I know a lot of people on the team there, so it was kind of hard competing with your friends.

What was the most memorable race and why Definitely states. Last year was disappointing because I was injured, so I had those feelings in my head and I wanted to change it this year -- redemption forward from last year.

What's it like running in the shadow of your older sisters, carrying on the family tradition, and the JF tradition (Note, Kristin and Shannon Saunders were part of the Cavaliers' cross country and outdoor track and field state championship teams in the early 2000s.) It's really an honor to be sisters with my sisters because they're amazing runners and mentors. It's also a lot of pressure because I would feel I had to do as well as them to live up to my name. Everybody's always comparing me to my sisters. But they would help me. If they were home, they would run the course with me and show me spots where it would be hard. They live in Harrisonburg and the Region [III] course was in Harrisonburg so my parents and I took a little trip up there and I ran the course with them. It's always nice to be familiar with the course before you run it.

What's the best memory of your coach After regions, especially, he [JF coach Jerome Loy] was very pleased with my run. He's a very hard man to please because he has high standards, so I felt very accomplished that he was pleased with me.

What's your favorite local restaurant and dish Lori's Italian Grill. We go there a lot because it has good spaghetti for carbs before a race.

What's the latest song you added to your Ipod I'm really into Imagine Dragons right now. They're kind of like Cold Play and they have mellow and more upbeat songs. I listen to this song called "Radioactive" before each race. It pumps me up a lot. It makes me feel like confidence in myself, I guess.

Favorite TV show or movie My favorite TV show is definitely "Friends." They don't make any new episodes anymore, but I just love watching the reruns.

How many friends do you have on Facebook I have 724 friends. I don't like to be friends with my competitors because I don't like them to see what I do. I want to have an edge. I'll be friends with people on my team and people I know from soccer that also run cross country.

Do you stay in contact with your sisters through social media We text each other a lot, we do a lot of group messaging. It's kind of funny because we annoy each other, even from different towns. Me and Kristin always try to annoy Shannon. Shannon always go to bed really early and we kept texting her [late one night] and she texted a photo back and she said "This is what my room looks like and it was really dark. I'm trying to go to sleep." Plans for the future I feel like I have more of a future in cross country and I like it better. I feel like I have more of a passion for it. I kind of hope to go to JMU like my sisters, but I'll look at my options. I was thinking of following in the footsteps of my sister Kristin and be a Vet Technician.

___ (c)2013 The News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.) Visit The News & Advance (Lynchburg, Va.) at www.newsadvance.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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