Taylor Stack looks forward to the opportunity of racing with a large collection of Colorado's best at NXR-SW on Saturday. Photo by Alan Versaw.
Taylor Stack's Best Marks:
1600 Meters - 4:30.13 (at altitude)
3200 Meters - 9:43.81 (at altitude)
5K Cross Country - 15:31.0
You chose to stay about as close to home as you possibly could have. What made the decision for Western State?
I'm familiar with the Gunnison area and have enjoyed spending a fair amount of time there and in the close town of Crested Butte. I really love the the area and all it has to offer in terms of outdoors activities which is a big attractor for me. I attended Western's distance camp this summer and got to know the coaches and team and I was happy to find out how amazing the program is. I've enjoyed being in contact with Coach Michel and the other coaches at Western since my junior year. They are absolutely the kind of dedicated and knowledgeable individuals who I feel will help to make me a better runner, and let me contribute to a team full of such amazing athletes and teammates!
Western State is somewhat famous for the steeple. Do you figure you'll take your turn at it eventually?
Steeplechase is something that has intrigued me for a long time! As a high schooler in Colorado, it is hard to find opportunities to participate in steeple races and I haven't ever tried it. It certainly looks like something I would enjoy. I would love to try it in college, and hopefully at an indoor meet or two this winter.
What is your planned field of study at WSCU?
I plan on studying Wildlife Biology. I had an internship this summer with a local biologist which was a great experience. It gave me insight into this field and inspired me to pursue this course of study.
What about post-season plans for cross country? After that, do you take things down a little for the winter?
My team and I will travel to Arizona and compete at Nike Regionals. I'm very excited to run with that level of competition on the blazing fast Casa Grande course! After that I plan on directing my winter focus mostly to nordic skiing with Lake County High School's team.
I've had the sense the last few years that, if it came down to choosing between cross country and track, you'd choose cross country. Am I right about that and, if so, what's the draw for you in cross country?
Yes, you are correct. In high school, I would say I've found more success in cross country than in track and, although I've enjoyed both of them, cross country holds a special place in my heart. Mountain trail running and hiking with my family as a smaller kid was my first exposure to the sport, and cross country resembles that kind of thing much more than track. This could be one of the reasons for my natural tendency towards cross. That being said, track has helped me as a runner immensely because it has forced me to work hard at something that is more difficult for me. I have had to overcome more setbacks and break more mental and physical barriers in track than in cross country and it is largely responsible for my improvements as an athlete. I have high hopes for my upcoming senior track season and I hope to improve my best marks and compete to my full potential at the state meet!
Do you have any particular goals that figure to shape what's left of your high school career?
At Nike SW I hope to significantly improve my time and place from last year. It will be fun to compete against all the Colorado guys who I've been running with throughout the season all at once. I'd like to stack up well in the ranks. For track I would like to break my school's records in the 3200 and 1600 (which are 9:37 and 4:20 respectively). I was disappointed to just miss the 3200 record last season, but I have confidence that this year will be better. Most importantly, I want to enjoy the time I have left as a high school athlete.