Sundown Track Series Mens Championship 3200 meter Flat Track at Azusa Pacific University in California:
Kutoven Stevens Places 5th out of 17 in Championship Final Heat:
Interviewer: This is DyeStat.com interviewing for RunnerSpace.com at the Sundown Track Series at Cougar Stadium at the Azusa Pacific University in California. The Nevada legend Ku Stevens, representing Yerington 9:013, closing in on that sub-nine mark. But it is only February 19th, ladies and gentlemen, a lot of promise. First of all, just the conditions being as beautiful as they were, the pacing. It being as electric as it was, how much hope, how much optimism and encouragement does this give you now again, knowing it’s only February 19th and by the time you get into March and April that you’re gonna throw down some really serious times?
Ku: Oh yeah. We’re really, me and my coach are aiming for like 8:45 at this point. Running a 9:01 as an opener… It’s just insane. And tonight, I felt so strong, so powerful. Especially with that closing last lap. And there’s so many boys out there that were just running so insanely fast. The Newbury Park kids, so crazy, you know, 8:33 and then 8:39. That’s just the dream right there, you know. Yeah, the weather down here is amazing. The altitude, of course. Such a benefit having such a low altitude and having so much oxygen. I didn’t have any side cramps. That’s usually something that you might get with low oxygen, or an excess of oxygen. But I didn’t have anything. I just felt amazing. So I had really good race tonight and lots of big things happening rest this season.
Interviewer: Such a powerful cross-country season, obviously. You know, lining up best of the best opportunities, you know in Arizona, and you know at Sac (Sacramento) and then obviously went to …USATF cross. But just how does track just like feed your soul? I mean it just seems like you have so much potential. So much upside in track and obviously that you seek out these types of opportunities, but it’s like ‘it doesn’t matter what section in Nevada I come from, I wanna race the best of the best in California and across the country.’ Just, you know, so how good is track for Ku Stevens’ soul?
Ku: Man, it’s nourishing… you know cross-country it’s kinda slow and strategical. And there’s so many different factors that can go into any different race, of course. It could be super hilly or super flat, super grassy. But with track it’s just the same. It’s flat, it’s bouncy and it’s just circles. It’s so much easier. It’s just really calming on the mind. And I really like just the flatout speed aspect of it all: I just go out there. Throw down each lap, pace phenomenally, and then just really try to close that really fast lap or last two laps. I really just like the speed. Speed is so fun.
Interviewer: So obviously it was easy as it would be to kinda become a spectator watching Colin (Sahlman, 1st at 8:33), Leo (Young, 2nd at 8:39) and Lex (Young, 3rd at 8:43). But I mean obviously you had that great group there, especially with Zach Munson (6th at 9:02) and Chris (Caudillo, 4th at 8:59) and stuff like that… How much did that not only just keep you really accountable, you know, but also energize you in those last couple laps, ’cause you closed incredibly well?
Ku: Yeah, it was… I mean, everything went right on plan. You know, I wanted to go out at 4:30 and just feel really good. And then as soon as 4:30 hit, I was like, OK, now we start working. Now we start getting up that heart rate and we start picking off these kids. And it was working. You know, we started moving out farther and farther and I closed really fast. Yeah. I had a little choke up over there. I stepped on the metal and was like, ‘Aw, I lost my momentum.’ And if I didn’t do that, I just wanna say I coulda broke 9.
Interviewer: But you would assume that 8:59:99 that Caudillo saw.
Ku: It was it was so insanely fun, though, to race. And all those boys: just mad respect to them. They’re super-fast and I don’t know how they do it, you know.
Interviewer: Obviously, if you had a collection of guys like that around you in Nevada every single day, then that would probably be more the norm than the exception. What’s the next big target for you? We know that we’re gonna have the blessing of seeing you come back down in Southern California chasing some great things, you know, in the official spring outdoor season. But what’s the next big target for you between now and then?
Ku: Um, I mean, there’s gonna be little Nevada meets, but there’s not really much competition. My boy Jack here: he’s gonna be killing it out there. We’re looking for, like I said, 8:45 (3200m) by the end of the season and the low 4:05 (mile). If we could hit low 4s and maybe even break four with the rest of these guys, that would be insane. But that would be that would be the plan. Those are the big things coming up. Post season, we’re gonna look to go to Oregon. Me and my coach, we’re gonna travel to different colleges and see what they have to offer. And we’re gonna consider options and to make the best decisions from there.
Interviewer: He’s trying to get Oregon’s attention and Ben Thomas and Robert Johnson… and the whole proof certainly took massive strides once again tonight. Not that he needed to prove anything, but he certainly showed incredible fitness on February 19th, again, 9:01:3, for Ku Stevens: the Nevada legend representing Yerington for DyeStat RunnerSpace. Here at the Sundown Series APU, Ku well done, man.
Ku: Thank you. Thank you very much for having me.