Interview with Melissa Gulli - September 2002
by Aggie Atheletics dot com
Do you think redshirting last season helped you prepare for this coming year?
"It might have helped me get more motivated to do well this year and just to prove myself. A&M never gets any respect (in running), and that's a motivational factor."
Do you think the women's team has a good shot at repeating what they accomplished in 2000 (regional champions and receiving the school's first-ever NCAA Championships bid)?
"Yes, and I think we'll do even better. We're a lot stronger and the seniors will pull the younger people through. I think we have the possibility of doing a lot better."
Is it a big adjustment for you, going from running cross country in the fall to track in the spring?
"No. Cross country is mostly on the roads, where we do a lot of longer-interval workouts. Personally, I like track better-I like a little more speed. You're a lot more on the track there, that's basically what the difference is. There's also a lot more endurance work in the fall."
What got you in to cross country?
"I started playing soccer, and I had broken my foot in two places and I had to run for rehabilitation, so I just started doing it. I started running cross country in high school. I have this thing where if people don't have a lot of faith in me I have to prove things to them. (Some people in high school) didn't think I'd do anything so I worked hard that whole time and we made it to state. I had moved up and made progress too, so I guess that's what made me like it, (the fact) that I had so much success."
Tell me how your training regiment goes.
"On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we do longer interval workouts, something like 4x1 mile, with a lot of very intense work in the mornings. On Mondays and Wednesdays we run just distance. I run about 10 miles on Monday and Wednesday mornings."
Ten miles each day?
"Yeah. And then Monday thru Thursday afternoons I run about 4 miles, so it's like two-a-days four times a week."
What time do you have to be at practice in the morning?
That's kind of early.
What's been your most memorable moment at A&M?
"I think my junior year in cross country, just breaking through and getting all-American status. Then in track, breaking 16 minutes (in the 5K) is something I'll always remember because it's not something I thought I was capable of doing. Even though it wasn't a major competition race, that's something I'll always remember."
That year you were named an All-American in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, right?
How cool was that?
"It was pretty cool. Getting second (at NCAA) outdoors was a huge surprise for me. Feeling good at the right moments is nice."
What's it been like running for Coach Hartman?
"When I was a freshman I wasn't real sure about coming here, because A&M wasn't really known for running. But he's encouraged me, he's young, and he's easy to talk to. He's had the experience (running) so he's easy to relate to. It's been an awesome experience just to be able to talk to your coach about anything. I'm very fortunate to have a coach that you can talk to about anything. That's real important. Even though I train a lot by myself I'm still extremely motivated because of him."
You listed the Lakers as your favorite professional team. Coach Hartman being a huge Lakers fan didn't have anything to do with that did it?
"(Laughs) I think I did that as a joke."
Do you get to have fun on the road trips?
"My junior year we went to San Diego, and after our race we went to the beach. We're going to Seattle this year. We went a couple of years ago and we stayed in the downtown area, and got to go all around. That's another cool thing about Coach Hartman. He has a lot of trust in us that we're not going to get in trouble, and that's nice. So you get to kind of relax on your trips too. Getting to travel this much in college has been nice."
What's your most favorite place you've gotten to go so far?
"I think Oregon two years ago for track nationals. I really liked it there. It was really pretty, and the atmosphere was cool. Probably the most memorable place was Iowa State (2000 NCAAs) because it was so freezing cold. Seattle was pretty cool too and we get to go again this year."