Nov. 4, 2010
Stanford freshman Erik Olson has made an immediate impact with the No. 2 men's cross-country team. He placed 53rd at the Pre-National Invitational as Stanford's No. 7 runner and just last weekend was the top freshman at the Pac-10 meet, placing 11th overall as Stanford's No. 6 runner. The Novato, Calif. native took a few minutes to answer some questions from GoStanford.com.
GoStanford.com: Why did you choose Stanford?
Olson: How could I not choose Stanford!! We have great track and cross-country programs along with amazing academics, it was an absolute no brainer for me!
GoStanford.com: How has the transition to college cross country been?
Olsom: So far it has gone pretty well. The main challenge is just knowing when to say "No" in order to make sure I get enough sleep to compete at my highest level. The upperclassmen are all great in trying to get the team to hangout outside of practice, which also helps me from not getting caught up in "stuff" that could affect this cross-country season. Other than that, classes are going pretty well, though I think I have a pretty easy schedule.
GoStanford.com: Have you exceeded your goals so far? What goals do you have for the rest of the season?
Olson: I wouldn't say I have exceeded my goals so far, because my personal goals change every week pretty much. Right now, training-wise, I am where I want to be, but at the same time my goals are just to continue to get better so that I can make a greater and greater impact on the team as we head towards NCAA's. Thus, the majority of my goals this season are teamed based and all revolve around winning NCAA's as a team!
GoStanford.com: Do you have a mentor on the team or someone you look up to?
Olson: Well our team is great, but I really look up to the guys in the top seven. So that would include Jacob Riley, Chris Derrick, Elliott Heath, J.T. Sullivan, Miles Unterreiner, and Benjamin Johnson. Those guys are all great mentors and they set such good examples on what to do in order to be great student-athletes that its almost hard to not have an easy college transition. I owe a lot of my recent successes to them having faith in me and pushing me to do better during workouts.
GoStanford.com: It is impressive to already be contributing to a team as talented as Stanford as freshmen. How does that affect your goals for your four years here?
Olson: Well coming into Stanford, my main goal was team-oriented and it was to just help the guys as much as could as we contend for NCAA's, after a couple races that goal still remains. I haven't really thought much about the indoor and outdoor track seasons being that I am still focusing on cross country, but my goals for the next four years will definitely be high. I figure if I don't challenge myself then I will never be able to truly reach my full potential. I hope to be given the chance to succeed after college in the Olympics and what not, but that is all in God's hands.
GoStanford.com: What is your favorite place to run both back home and here at Stanford?
Olson: Back home my favorite place to run is at this place called Bear Valley, which is a trail that leads to the Pacific Ocean, IT'S AMAZING!! At Stanford, I pretty much love every run...my favorite place would probably be Huddart Park even though it's a pretty hilly and strenuous run.
GoStanford.com: Has it been difficult to balance school and running so far?
Olson: So far classes haven't been too hard, but like I said before, I think I am taking pretty easy classes. The most difficult thing I have to do is managing my time correctly.
GoStanford.com: Favorite class so far? Any idea what you are going to major in?
Olson: Right now I am just taking IHUM, CS 105, and French, so all General Requirement classes, and I don't really have a favorite out of those three. I am really interested in human biology but I am also a big fan of European History so I am not exactly sure what my major will be. Down the road I would like to go to graduate school for either medicine or law, so I'm pretty much keeping every door open.