Nov. 5, 2010
Freshman Jessica Tonn recently placed eighth at the Pac-10 Championships to help Stanford win the conference title. She was Stanford's third runner and the second-fastest freshman in the conference. Already this season Tonn has established herself as a major part of the women's team that has rose to No. 4 in the country and is looking like a legitimate podium contender at NCAA's. She took a few moments to answer some questions from gostanford.com.
GoStanford.com: Why did you choose Stanford?
Tonn: After visiting Duke and the University of Oregon, I really thought I could picture myself at both of those schools, and that I was going to have a tough decision to make ahead of me. The teams at those two schools were great, both campuses were beautiful in their own ways, and I connected with the coaches as well. But when I took my visit to Stanford, I couldn't picture myself anywhere but here. The girls on the team were extremely inviting and went out of their way to make me feel welcome, the campus left me speechless, and the coaching staff was so great, and of course I couldn't forget the outstanding academic reputation at Stanford, which played a major role in my decision. Over all, Stanford is the entire package for me, and I couldn't be any happier!
GoStanford.com: How has the transition to college Cross Country been?
Tonn: So far, the transition to college cross country has been relatively smooth. My training in high school was very similar in terms of the mileage I am running now, as well the intensity of my workouts. The biggest change for me so far is always having a pack of girls to run with during practice, I am not really used to being pushed in every work out and I believe this has really been a positive difference for me this year.
GoStanford.com: Have you exceeded your goals so far? What goals do you have for the rest of the season?
Tonn: So far, yes I have exceeded my goals. I really wanted to come into Stanford and our preseason camp and be able to contribute to the team right away, which I have accomplished. But I would say my goals have changed in the sense that I am not really setting as many individual goals for myself because the team's success is almost more important to me right now. I think that if I focus on the goals that we have set as a group, I will definitely be satisfied individually as well.
GoStanford.com: Do you have a mentor on the team or someone you look up to?
Tonn: Coming to Stanford I was already close with Alex Dunne because we had raced each other in high school and were on the West team at Footlocker Nationals my junior year. I honestly look up to all of the older girls on the team and having all of these awesome mentors is so new to me just because I have been so used to being the one looking after all of the youngsters on the cross country team at Xavier. I couldn't wish for a better group of girls to be on a team with. I have really looked up to Kathy since my freshman year in high school when she won Footlocker Nationals, and I definitely look to her as a role model now at Stanford even more so because she is my teammate. She is extremely dedicated to the sport and our team and it definitely shows in everything she does.
GoStanford.com: It is impressive to already be contributing to teams as talented as Stanford as freshmen. How does that affect your goals for your four years here?
Tonn: Contributing to the team as a freshman is such an amazing opportunity, and being able to make an impact right away, I am finding myself setting higher and higher goals every time I compete. My main goal for the next four years is staying healthy, and continuing to improve so I can perform at my best for the team and help us reach our goals. I haven't really thought about my goals for the upcoming indoor and outdoor seasons, but I want to improve my times that I ran in high school, and give the 5K on the track a try.
GoStanford.com: What is your favorite place to run both back home and here at Stanford?
Tonn: Back in Phoenix, Arizona, my favorite place to run would be on the trails through Squaw Peak Mountain Reserve right by my house, but my all time favorite run would be on the Rim Trail around Lake Tahoe. I would have to agree with Erik and say Huddart Park is my favorite place to run at Stanford so far, it is beautiful, but really hilly!
GoStanford.com: Has it been difficult to balance school and running so far?
Tonn: Surprisingly, I have had no difficulty balancing school and running in my first couple months here at Stanford. My high school, Xavier College Preparatory, prepared me so well for the challenging academics here at Stanford, and my coaches in high school, Jeff Messer and Dave VanSickle, couldn't have prepared me better training wise. Coach Dunn, Coach Vidal, Hakon and the older girls on the team have really helped me adjust in every way. The only difficulties I have faced occasionally are time management, just because running and school are so demanding, and sleep!
GoStanford.com: Favorite class so far? Any idea what you are going to major in?
Tonn: So far, my classes aren't super interesting because I am taking classes that fulfill my GER's, but I am taking classes that I am more interested in next quarter, especially sleep and dreams and possibly psychology. I am not dead set on a major yet, but I love English and psychology so maybe a mixture of the two, or focusing more on English for my major.