We caught up with recent Rio Rico graduate and 9-time Arizona State Champion, Samantha Schadler for a brief conversation about her venture to the Gateway City, where she ran a new lifetime best at the Festival of Miles.
The Festival of Miles has been a staple in the Missouri running for over a decade with professional and elite high school athletes congregating to race at St. Louis University High School.
According to the Festival of Miles website, "The Festival of Miles began in 2008 as a way to raise money for the family of Brigette Schutzman, a standout cross country and track runner for Saint Louis University who had been badly injured in a car accident on New Year's Eve 2007. Brigette spent several weeks in a coma and doctors gave her a pretty slim chance of recovery but slowly that spring she began to make progress."
That year, the meet garnered a lot of media attention around Saint Louis, and raised $8,000 for the Schutzman family. Since then, the meet grown a carnival-like atmosphere attracting elite distance from around the country where spectators have been treated to sub-four miles from guys like Reed Brown, Grant Fischer, and Morgan McDonald.
In the Big River Running Girls' Championship Mile, Clara Mayfield (Manhattan, Sr.) from Manhattan, KS led much of the race until Schadler overtook her just before the bell lap, and powered through in 67-seconds to break the tape as Arizona's fastest miler, less than two seconds off the meet-record. Her time 4:48.33 is currently ranked 13th in the nation.
What made you and your dad decide to fly out to St. Louis and race at Festival of Miles?
I really liked St. Louis. My dad had mentioned it my sophomore or junior year. He was looking for quality meets and he stumbled across it either last year or the year before. I had actually seen pictures on Instagram and it seemed like there was a lot of energy there. From that point everything came together.
(Right: Sam Schadler dominated the Girls' Championship Mile by 4-seconds.-photo by Rob Harrison)
What kind of workouts have you been doing in the post-season?
My dad says he doesn't really believe in tapering, but my mileage has gone down a little bit, and we're still doing hard workouts and long runs. [On Monday] I did a workout that was 2x400 6x300m and 4x200m all at pretty quick paces. We've been working on my closing speed and visualizing the race with shorter reps but faster paces and less rest. Most of my workouts have been along those lines.
What other post-season meets will you run?
This past week we decided that I would race the 800m at Portland Track Festival, this Sunday. I wanna' see how low I can get my 800 PR, and then I'll race the Mile at New Balance Nationals.
Did you get to see much of St. Louis and if so, what was your favorite part (Food, sightseeing etc.)?
We got lucky with a good flight and we got in around 8pm the day before. On race day, both me and my dad left the hotel room to be tourists for a bit and we got to see the Gateway Arch which is the big thing to do in Missouri of course. After the race we just went out to dinner because it was so late.
How did the race play out for you and what was your favorite part of the race?
The goal was to go under 4:50 and we planned was to go out in 4:40 pace and then take the lead with around 500 to go. We went through in 73 for the first lap and then with 400 to go I took the lead and at that point I knew that I was capable of winning. I knew that I could close fast and I was obviously really excited about a five second PR.
(Left to right: Olivia Markezich [2nd], Sam Schadler [1st], Madeleine Burns [3rd].-photo by Rob Harrison)
New Balance will be your last race of the post-season, which is held in Greensboro, North Carolina. Are you planning on seeing your future coach Rhonda Riley there?
Yeah, she should be there. I'm also planning on meeting my roommate for the first time and my mom has never seen the (Duke University) campus so she's coming out and we're gonna' go visit the campus and see what it's all about.
Samantha Schadler will race at the Portland Track Festival this upcoming Sunday. You can watch LIVE coverage of the meet on FloTrack.