LA JOLLA, Calif.-Fresh off a 10th-place finish at the UC Irvine Invitational, cross country’s Carl Lostrom continues to be one of UCSD’s top finishers each week. As a team, the Tritons finished first of three teams to open the season at home. Last week at UC Irvine, UCSD finished fifth out of 12 teams. The season looks bright for the Tritons as they focus on Conference, Regionals and Nationals. Senior co-captain Lostrom recently took time to discuss the cross country team and life as a student-athlete.
Q- How do you feel about the start of the season for yourself and the team?
LOSTROM- We won our first race, but a better measuring stick may have been last week at the UC Irvine Invitational. We had a tough training week, training through the race an were not too concerned with team finish. In this race we wanted to work on skills and strategies. The race was not as team score oriented as it could have been. I think with a different strategy, we could have finished higher. We were only 10 points behind UCI, which is pretty simple to make up.
Q- What type of strategies are used in races?
LOSTROM- With team scoring, the way you can do damage to other teams is to have your team running close with each other. You run better in groups, especially with the guys you have been training with. The goal is to keep as many guys together as long as you possibly can, without having to slow down for others. Throughout the race, you need to still have that comfortable connection when you are 20 meters behind.
This last week our first four guys finished 35 seconds apart which is decent, but like I said, it was a tough training week so I am sure we could have done better.
Q- What are the team goals this season?
LOSTROM- We have goals race by race, but our season goals are Conference, Regionals and Nationals. Throughout the year, we are more willing to try new strategies and approaches to each race.
At conference, it’s usually UCSD, Chico and Pomona. Chico is very good and has a strong program. They were fourth in the country and return several members from that team. Chico is the solid No. 1 in our conference and our goal is to establish ourselves as the solid No. 2 team. Last year we were third in conference and we’d like to improve on that. The top three in Regionals go on to Nationals, so we’d like to achieve that.
The season goal is a top-10 finish at Nationals. No Triton team has done that yet and we want to be that first team.
Q- Do you have a favorite track and field event?
LOSTROM- I enjoy the steeplechase, it’s a lot of fun with the barriers and water. Every practice I pick-up something new in the learning process.
Q- How did you spend your summer?
LOSTROM- I decided to take a couple of summer school classes because several of my teammates were staying in town. It was great to get some classes out of the way and train for the upcoming season.
Q- Do you know what you would like to do with your Mechanical Engineering major?
LOSTROM- Something that I have always wanted to do is Engineering for Disney. That would be something I’d like down the road. There are plenty of jobs out there that I find interesting when graduation comes.
Q- Do you have a favorite cross country course?
LOSTROM- Once a year we have a meet that we travel to. This year we are going to Bethlehem, Penn., and I am looking forward to that. My favorite course is our course right down here in the trees. It’s a very technical course. Some schools will make their courses very flat to produce fast times and our course is not like that at all. We have hills, sand, tight corners, etc... you have to pay attention in the entire race, not just go through the motions. On our course you have to think about your technique on turns and hills. The course provides many situations and that’s what makes it my favorite.
Q- How has head coach Ted Van Arsdale helped you?
LOSTROM- He has improved me tremendously since I arrived here. I’ve taken 20-something seconds off of my mile time. My mile time was decent in high school, but it is so different when a coach can control when you work out, where you work out, what you are eating... it’s just so much more involved in college.
I am a senior now, but when I look back on it, it has been four years of Ted’s coaching, all piled up. Every race I’ll learn something that I pick up for the first time... and then when I think about it, Ted has been telling me that for four years.
Ted is very good and understanding of the program. With training, if you can’t do the hill workout, Ted is understanding in that he’ll say that’s fine, you’ll get it in tomorrow. He’s very adaptable to forming the workouts around how you feel, not how the top runner feels. I think that helps the teams get better every year and it really shows.
Q- What types of team bonding activities take place?
LOSTROM- Our team goes to Mammoth over the summer for 10 days. We are all together and each day its wake-up, run, eat, sleep and run again... it’s ideal training lifestyle. And then of course we go on hikes and the pool.
Q- Do you have any hobbies?
LOSTROM- I like the outdoors. Hiking and backpacking are great. School keeps me pretty busy, but we do lots together as a team, including going to the volleyball and soccer games.
Q- So the team goes to several UCSD sporting events?
LOSTROM- Well, the girls (cross country team) won the spirit contest last year. We are kind of bitter about that so we are going to win it this year.
Q- Who is the funniest member of the team and the smartest?
LOSTROM- The funniest would have to be co-captain Chris (Beetley-Hagler). Chris and myself are the only fourth-year seniors and we have Luke Sigmon who is a fifth-year senior. We all are the team ring-leaders, but the funniest is Chris. It’s tough to say who is the smartest on the team. We won the team GPA award last spring. I guess I’d have to say John Yano pulled us the most last year so I will go with him.