May 27, 2008
As the Seminoles move into crunch-time preparing for this weekend’s NCAA Track & Field East Region Championships, senior distance runner Luke Gunn took time out of his busy schedule to give Seminoles.com an idea of his goals for the national meet as well as the final few races of his Florida State career.
Q: As a senior, how does it feel to know you’ll be representing Florida State in three events at the NCAA East Regionals?
A: “Although I have qualified for three events, I am choosing to concentrate on my main event–the steeplechase–at the East Regionals this weekend. But it is still an honor to have qualified in every event I have ran for FSU this year, and it is a testament to our distance program’s quality in depth.”
Q: Of the events you compete in, which is your favorite and why?
A: “The steeplechase is certainly my favorite track event, not only because it is the event that has brought me the most success in the past, but also because of the unique skills necessary to be a successful steeplechaser. It sets me apart from being just another `distance runner.’ I feel you have to be twice as strong as any distance runner, while combining the poise and skill of some of the other track events such as sprint hurdlers/long jumpers which makes the steeplechase one of the most dramatic events to watch.”
Q: As a veteran of the Florida State track and field team, what advice do you give to the rookies who are headed to the post-season for the first time?
A: “I myself have always been one to come on strong at the end of the season, and usually when it matters. So to those rookies, I would say that this is their chance to really show what they’re made of. We have worked all year for this–I know they have all been doing the good things right all year–but here with possibly only a few days left in the season is the time to stay on top of all those right things of sleeping, eating and preparing for what lies ahead. In the end, what you will do in the next few days will define your year! Everything before this has been mere rehearsal.”
Q: What are you looking forward to most about competing at NCAA Regionals?
A: “Definitely the home crowd. We don’t really get a chance to race on our home track a lot, and this will be, for most, the first time that our supporters, family and friends will get to see the back-to-back national champions perform. We know they will make the atmosphere electric, and we are planning on rewarding them with an equally memorable performance. Everyone I’ve spoken to on the team is really revved up for these Championships, and I know that the Garnet and Gold grandstand will give us our edge. Watch out for some really big performances!”
Q: Overall, how do you feel your career at FSU has been?
A: “It’s been mixed. I’ve ran some of my greatest races ever at Florida State, most of which have come in the indoor seasons, and this outdoor season. However, plagued by injury last year, I was disappointed having only been able to run the end of last outdoor season off limited fitness. The same can largely be said for my cross-country career at FSU, which the last two years has failed to deliver results that I knew I was more than capable of–a trend I intend to reverse this coming fall.”
Q: What were your goals coming into your first season at FSU? Have you achieved them?
A: “My goals were to become the top distance runner in the program and to place myself in the upper echelon of runners in the NCAA. I felt I somewhat achieved that this year in making the NCAA Indoor 3000m final, a race that has for years been reserved for the elite in the NCAA at the time. However, this being said, after placing in that final I realized merely being there did not satisfy my competitive urges. Now I wish to join that true elite of NCAA medalists this summer.”
Q: Does the way you prepare to compete change in the post-season, or does it stay the same? Why or why not?
A: “I think it changes. Moving into the post season places more pressure and expectation on every race. Failing to adjust for these additional factors would result in under achievement. At this time of the season, I try to collect all my possible energy and focus it toward the races. This is what we have been working toward for the past 12 months, so the focus moves from getting a job done to squeezing every last piece of training out of us for the final push.”
Q: What have you learned from your career at Florida State that you will use in the future?
A: “A competitiveness like no other. I have never seen such fire as I have in the NCAA competitions. It’s a cut-throat division, taking your eye of the game can leave you lagging behind. I have learned the importance of persistence and desire to achieve. And in addition just how much can be achieved when both are executed effectively.”