Q & A with Cassie Hunt and Jaime Turilli

Oct. 18, 2004

What weather conditions do you feel favor you as a runner?


Cassie Hunt: I can't really say.  I know that the weather is not something I can control so I try and deal with any condition in the best way possible.


Jaime Turilli: I'd love for it to always be 65 and sunny but part of being a great runner is learning to adapt to any weather situation. So I try not to think about what weather favors me and just go out and run.


What do you say to a teammate when you beat them in such a close finish?


CH: I try and treat it like any other race or workout.  I just tell her 'good job' and things of that sort to let her know how great she ran.


JT: You say great job and thanks for pushing me. It's great to have a teammate so close like that to feed off during a race. If the two of you finish so close you probably had a better race because they were there.



What does it say about your program that your team has finished so strong in the past few weeks?


CH: These last few weeks have shown how competitive we have become as a team.  We have worked very hard and as a result have improved a great deal since last season.


JT: All our hard work and dedication is paying off. We are all pushing each other in practice and it shows in a race like last weekend at Southern (Illinois) when our top seven all ran personal records. Our program is definitely on the rise.



How physically demanding is cross country compared to other sports?


CH: It's hard to compare cross country with other sports since each one requires different abilities, but I would say that running is one of the most demanding sports overall. It certainly requires a lot from a person both mentally and physically.


JT: It's hard to say because different sports require different types of hard work.  While a cross country race may only last 20 min or so it requires really intense physical work for the entire time. There are no time outs in a cross country race. If you zone out for a minute or so that could be the difference between a good and a bad race.



What do you have to do personally to continue to compete at such a high level?


CH: I think that working hard at the little things is very important. Coach Harvey will make sure that I'm at the right level of fitness, but I have to make sure that I eat the right foods, stretch well, get plenty of sleep and make the right decisions when it comes to taking care of my body.


JT: You have to be able to push yourself out of your comfort zone in workouts and races. Besides running though it's really important to take care of the small details too, like stretching, icing, eating right, and getting enough sleep.



What do you and your teammates have to do in order to bring home a Big Ten Conference Championship?


CH: A Big Ten Championship is one of our goals.  If we keep doing what we are doing and want it badly enough, I think that we will eventually win it.


JT: More of what we've been doing. We've been doing everything right we just have to keep on improving like we do every week.



Tell me some of the details that go into training for cross country that the average fan wouldn¹t think about.


CH: I've noticed that a lot of people don't realize that we don't just "go run" everyday.  There is so much more to it than that.  There are the hard workouts, the easy days, the long runs, and weight training.  And all of those things vary depending on what point it is in the season and how long the race is.  It's much more complicated than just going and running.


JT: I think the average fan just thinks we run a lot. I don't think they realize how different and fine-tuned some of our workouts are to simulate certain racing situations. They may not know that workouts can vary from tempo runs to mile repeats to 400s and that they may have different purposes like concentration and focus or speed.



What are some challenges to running cross country that you feel people don¹t realize?


CH: I feel that people have a good idea of how challenging cross country is.  When I tell people I run they give me strange looks and tell me I'm crazy.  They may not know all the details, but they know its hard work.


JT: I don't think they realize how mentally challenging it can be sometimes. Its one thing to have talent but to be able to push yourself out of your comfort zone is a completely different thing and you have to do that in cross country to really achieve your true potential.



Personally, what has been your greatest accomplishment as a student-athlete and why?


CH: Making it to NCAAs in the steeplechase is one of my greatest accomplishments.  The steeple is really one of the hardest things that I have ever done so I was pleased.


JT: My greatest accomplishment so far has probably been qualifying for the NCAA regional this past spring because it was really a turning point in my running career but I'm hoping to blow that away this year. We should be able to accomplish bigger and better things this year, both as a team and individually.



What are some of your other favorite sports?


CH: I love to play basketball; I played from 3rd grade until my senior year of high school.  I also love to watch baseball and am a big Yankees fan.


JT: I played soccer from the age of five up until high school when I decided to just focus on running.



What are some of your plans after graduation?


CH: At this point I don't have a major.  I really don't know.  There are many possibilities.


JT: I'm going on to grad school to get my masters in speech pathology. As far as running goes, I'd like to train for a marathon once I'm done competing at Illinois.



When people go for a jog in the morning or at night they always say that they see the strangest things. You both do a lot of running, what is the strangest thing that you have seen while you have been out on a run?


CH: We see lots of strange things when we run, but I'm afraid the humor might be lost in the explanation; you would just have to be there to understand in most cases.


JT: A vacuum cleaner in a tree. That's not something you see everyday.