Wellesley Cross Country is having one of the best seasons in the history of the program. Blue Cross Country obliterated its opponents at the Seven Sisters race at Bryn Mawr with an almost perfect score of 16. This was the lowest score ever recorded in the history of the Seven Sisters Cross Country race. Leading the top pack of Wellesley runners was Priyanka Fouda ’16 who won the six-kilometer race in 22 minutes and 58 seconds. Throughout her college career, Fouda has had a large impact on Wellesley Cross Country and Track and Field, as shown by her second consecutive Seven Sisters victory last weekend. Wellesley News spoke with Fouda about her feelings on Blue Cross Country’s historic Seven Sisters victory and why she channels the energy of the great Steve Prefontaine when she runs.
Laura Brindley (L.B.): Who or what inspired you to run cross country?
Priyanka Fouda (P.F.): Initially, I sort of fell into running. I was cut from the soccer team my freshman year of high school, and so I was completely adrift. The cross country team did not have cuts, so I joined late and it turned out I was not bad at it, so I kept going. Today, I would say that Steve Prefontaine inspires me the most. I attribute my nickname, which is Pri, to him. He has an attitude towards running that I find very invigorating. It’s a very “take no prisoners” approach, and he really believes in the capacity of the human spirit to overcome anything, and I have always found that very compelling.
L.B.: What were your initial thoughts when you realized you had won Seven Sisters?
P.F.: I was very excited. What I found most exciting was turning around and seeing all of the Wellesley people right behind me. I won Seven Sisters last year, so it was something I really wanted to do again. But to win so decisively as a team requires the entire team and that’s what I found most exciting was to turn around and see a sea of Wellesley Blue.
L.B.: What has been your most memorable moment in Wellesley Cross Country?
P.F.: Coming in tenth at Regionals last year was one of the most gratifying experiences I have had at Wellesley. I qualified for Nationals as an individual, which has been a goal of mine since I knew that I would be running in college.
L.B.: What is your favorite workout?
P.F.: I enjoy short repeats. I like going fast!
L.B.: What is one word of advice you would give to someone who has just started running or has just started training for a race?
P.F.: The hardest thing to do is get out of bed. Making sure you find time to run is not easy. I would say be conscientious and be consistent with your training is the advice I would give. Distinguish winning from your enjoyment of a race. I work hard to separate my love of winning with my love of running because you cannot always win every race, but as long as you are not injured, you can always run.
L.B.: How do you balance cross country and academics?
P.F.: Sometimes I think not very well. It’s nice that practice is at a set time every day, so I know when I don’t have time to work. I think every semester brings a new challenge because every semester I take on new things academically or in terms of leadership. This semester I am working with Jackie Li ’16 and Abby Esrock ’16 on a program called Wellesley to Wall Street. It helps people break into finance internships, and I have found it tricky to balance everything, but also when I get it right, very rewarding. The best thing to do is stay organized.
L.B.: What should Blue fans expect from Wellesley Cross Country this weekend at NEWMACs?
P.F.: It is going to be a great race. Wellesley is definitely going to go after our big NEWMAC rival, MIT. We want to try to break up their strong pack. It will be exciting to see us flex our muscles before Regionals.
L.B.: Do you plan to continue running competitively after you graduate?
P.F.: I would like to qualify for some Canadian races post collegiately, as I am a Canadian citizen. Long term, I know I will always run, but because of work and other responsibilities, I don’t know what exactly the future will hold. That is why I am making the most of my time at Wellesley where I can run without any real worries besides what will be for dinner.
L.B.: If you could not do cross country or track, which sport would you want to do?
P.F.: I played lacrosse in high school and really liked that, and I also really liked soccer.
Blue Cross Country will compete at the NEWMAC race on Sunday, Nov. 1 at Franklin Park in Boston at 11 a.m.