Wilder Boyden: Valley Catholic High School '15, Santa Clara University freshman, 4A State Champion in the 3000m & 1500m, member of the state-winning Cross Country teams of 2013-2014.
Dylan Hite: Jesuit High School '15, University of Portland freshman, 4th female runner at state 3000m for 2014, 10th in state at her college Cross Country for 2015.
DYLAN: Right away, I would tell anyone who is looking at running in college to be beyond excited because it is an absolutely amazing opportunity and something that few people get the chance to pursue! Obviously it is stressful as it is a major turning point in your life and comes with the general stresses of college and moving away from home, but the fact that you have come this far and have opportunities like running collegiately available to you, means you worked so hard and completely deserve it!
WILDER: With proper planning, running collegiately follows naturally after finishing one’s high-school career. That said, it is an exciting yet difficult transition to make. With research, determination, and hard work, any high-schooler with the right mindset and skill can step up.
Wilder at the 2014 Nike BorderClash, he ran the 4,387m course in 17:58 | Photo by: Klotz Images
What are some things to remember or keep in mind the last year(s) of high school?
DYLAN: Definitely making and maintaining your NCAA account is vital. Stay in contact with coaches who have shown interest in you and do not be afraid to reach out to any coaches (no matter how far fetched it may seem) with your times! Oftentimes coaches are looking to boost their team not with front runners, but with a strong top seven throughout. Keep your grades up! Last but not least, and possibly the most important: visit your potential school. Meet the coaches and teams. No matter how much money a school could offer in a scholarship for you, if you dislike the school, coach or teammates, your experience is not going to be everything that it could! (This also applies if you are trying to walk on the team--get to know the people you might be spending the next four years with!)
What were the best and worst parts of finishing your high school running career?
WILDER: The best part of my high-school career, was, without a doubt, competing with close friends and actualizing my potential in a climactic way. The worst parts include those races I wish I could run again. No career is without regrets, but they certainly can act to bring one down. It is better to allow those unsuccessful races to motivate you rather than define you.
What are the best and worst parts of starting your collegiate running career?
DYLAN: College is hard. On top of school, a social life, new friends, and new adventures, it is a lot to get used to. Then, throw running on top of that! It can be pretty stressful and you run into the unknown that is your freshman cross country season. It is scary because you have no idea where you will be on the team, if you’ll run fast enough, or if you’ll get to travel to some big meets--but at the exact same time that is the best thing about your freshman year of college running: you don’t know! So, the excitement of being on a new team and training and competing a lot harder than you ever did, makes it one of the craziest and most fun experiences!
Dylan at the 2014 BorderClash, her time for the 4,387m course was a 14:29 | Photo by: Klotz Images
If you could go back to senior (or junior) year in high school, what is something you would change?
WILDER: If I could revisit high school, I would begin to look into college choices earlier. The most important aspect of your junior year in terms of looking forward is researching colleges. Start to think about the factors that will ultimately influence your college decision, and investigate early those schools that will optimize your criteria.
Here Wilder is finishing his 5k at the Sandelie XC Classic in 2014 in a time of 15:39.7 | Photo by: Julia Clark
How is the collegiate running lifestyle different from running in high school?
DYLAN: It truly is a lifestyle...your entire existence revolves around running and training even more than it did in high school. You live, eat, breathe, and attend classes with your teammates. You drive to workouts in the team van rather than driving yourself. Everything is mandatory and there are no excuses about how you “couldn’t make it” because the car broke down or you were sick (your roommates know the truth) It is different in a lot of ways, but I also enjoy it a lot more than high school running. I love that it is my lifestyle, it’s what I do!
Dylan at the 2015 Jesuit Twilight Relays running the 3k, her time was 10:24.36 | Photo by: Klotz Images