The junior from Malibu High School leads her team into their final three races of the year over the next five weeks, the first of which is the CCAA Championships this weekend in Chino, Calif. Hodgins recently took some time out of her busy schedule, between training and her class work, to answer a wide variety of questions.
Q- How has this year compared to your previous years at UCSD?
HODGINS- It has actually been completely different because last year I had to deal with some bleeding ulcers that I had. It was for me to balance running with taking the medicine. But it got better and I trained really hard over the summer and it just really seems to be clicking for me right now.
Q- Were you happy with the way you ran at the UCSD Triton Cross Country Classic?
HODGINS- I was very happy. It was a minute and a half faster than the time I ran last year in the same event, so I was very pleased with that.
Q- What can you attribute that new personal best to?
HODGINS- I am just healthier. I actually had slacked off in the previous summers, but this year I did all of the workouts and because I am healthier, I think that has made all of the difference.
Q- Your new PR came in the third race of three straight weeks with a race. Isn’t that a little unusual for a runner?
HODGINS- I was a little surprised myself because going into the race I felt like my legs were pretty tired, but it is so mental out there. You just go out and try to hold on mentally and fortunately I was able to keep it together that way.
Q- As a team, what are you guys looking for at the CCAA Championships this weekend?
HODGINS- We are looking to win. We are hoping to beat Chico State, and this year it does seem like a reasonable goal even though we have never accomplished that before. Hopefully we can beat them there and at the NCAA Regionals and come in the top-10 at the NCAA Nationals.
Q- The top-10 goal at the NCAA Nationals, is that a yearly goal for the team?
HODGINS- Actually our goal in the past was just to make it to nationals. But, with the realization that we have made it two of the last three years, we think that a top-10 finish is attainable. We also have a much deeper squad than we have had in past years, which should also help.
Q- How has Coach Van Arsdale added that depth that you talked about to the squad?
HODGINS- His workout regimen is such that you are supposed to set a new PR each and every year you run for him. He is building it so that you are your strongest during your senior year. So far, it seems to be working.
Q- Through your first two plus years at UCSD, what has your experience been like on campus?
HODGINS- It has been really; really fun, but I attribute most of that to the team. I love the team aspect of my sport and the fact that some of my best friends are ones that have come as a result of the team.
Q- How did you get involved with running as a competitive sport?
HODGINS- I was actually a very hyper child as I was No. 5 out of six kids in my family. When I was younger I was walking through the mall with my parents and they saw a flyer for a track club. So I have actually been running competitively since I was six years old. They thought that was the best way to get energy out of me without getting hurt.
Q- Some people don’t like to drive for 20 to 30 minutes, yet you run for that amount of time and even longer. Where does the joy of running come from for you?
HODGINS- For me it is just a pure sport. It feels like you are just testing your body to its limits each and every time you run competitively. Plus I just love competing.
Q- Your third race of the season this year was at the site of the 2004 NCAA Division II Cross Country National Championships. Did that competition give you guys any sort of edge if you qualify for nationals again?
HODGINS- I think it will. We will be more mentally focused and prepared for what is ahead of us. We know the ups and downs of it, like the 400 meter hill at the end of the course, which is a lot like our course here, so we will be very prepared for it.