For many college students, four years of school can seem to fly by quickly. For student-athletes, grueling workouts, travel and the rigors of competing at the Division I level can make it go by even quicker. In this series, the Daily Trojan sits down with senior athletes playing various sports at USC to discuss their experience over the past four years, from their athletic life to their academic life. This week’s senior is women’s cross country and track runner Amber Gore, one of USC’s top distance runners over the last four seasons.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY AT USC?
Every year has been super memorable. There’s always new people coming in and making the team feel like a giant family. One of my favorite memories was my freshman year when we had the dual meet at UCLA. As a freshman, I knew about the rivalry coming in, but didn’t know about the deep history behind it. Being able to sweep on the men’s and women’s side at UCLA was just an unforgettable experience that really set the tone for the next three years and makes me excited to repeat it each year.
WHAT HAVE YOU HAD TO SACRIFICE IN ORDER TO BE A STUDENT-ATHLETE, ESPECIALLY PLAYING TWO SPORTS?
Cross country is in the fall and track is in the winter and spring. It essentially feels like a big, year-round sport. Because I run distance in track, the training doesn’t change very much. We incorporate a little more speed in the spring. I’ve definitely learned how to work on time management because I notice I have a lot less time than other students to do schoolwork and extracurricular things. But it’s all for the love of the sport, and I wouldn’t trade it at all.
WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE?
We start with morning practice as early as 6 a.m. And then recovery, breakfast and then I go to class. I come back for an afternoon session which can consist of another mini practice or weightlifting. Sometimes more class, and I go home and do homework — and then the day starts all over the next day.
WHAT’S ONE THING ABOUT RUNNING THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW?
People don’t understand how much mental focus it requires. A lot of people don’t like running as it is. I think the best part about running is when you get in that flow state. You are just in the zone. You feel great, like you’re floating through the air. It gives me a lot of time to think about anything. My mind can just wander. I feel great afterward, always. That’s the most important thing.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FRESHMAN ATHLETES?
Use all the resources that we have at USC, whether that be your teammates, your coaches, teachers, the athletic staff or the academic faculty. Everyone is here to see you succeed, and I wish I would have taken advantage of that at an earlier time. There are so many people that can offer you so many things at school. I came in thinking that I can be super self-sufficient and definitely struggled at times. So I want to encourage younger athletes that it’s okay to reach out. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, or you can’t figure things out. It just means that sometimes we all need a little bit of extra help.