On all cylinders

The junior is hitting her stride as a runner, while maintaining straight A's and drumming in a marching band

Q&A becky yep, mount hebron, cross country

November 06, 2008|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,Special to The Baltimore Sun

Hampered by injuries her first two seasons, Mount Hebron cross-country standout Becky Yep is finally at full strength and showing off her potential.

After recently finishing second to River Hill's Katie Harman at the Howard County championships, the junior came back a week later to top Harman at the Class 2A South regional meet. Earlier this season, she also captured the elite division of the Bull Run Invitational, as well as the Run from the Lions' Den at Liberty and Doc Jones Invitational at Annapolis.

Running, however, is just a small part of Yep's life. She is also a drummer in the school's marching band, as well as a straight-A student.

You tend to always make a dash for the lead at the beginning of each race. Is that a habit your coaches instilled in you?

At certain places like Centennial and South Carroll, our coach has always said, "Make sure you get a quick start because you don't want to be caught in the back." Once you get caught in the back, it's harder to fight your way back up front, whereas if you get out in the beginning really fast, then you have good positioning for the rest of the race. It just kind of was ingrained in me, and I kept with it because it seemed to work.

Has that style ever been a hindrance, expending too much energy early and not having enough left for a kick at the end?

No, because within the first 800 meters I pretty much find my stride, and I kind of settle into a pace.

You struggled with stress fractures in both legs during your freshman and sophomore years. How did those injuries occur?

They started out as bad shin splints, then I went to a bunch of doctors and got bone scans. They found hairline fractures [in the tibias]. I could walk and everything. It's just that when I ran, the impact hurt a lot, so I had to take a lot of time off in order for them to heal.

Did that force you to change your training habits?

Yeah. I did a lot of cross training. In the winter I went to the pool a lot - I belong to the Y - and I did a lot of stuff on the bike. Just a lot of cardio and low-impact stuff.

So there's no pain at all anymore?

Sometimes there's soreness or tightness, but so far it's been pretty good. Some days are better than others.

You've accumulated quite a few wins at big meets this season. Any one that stands apart from the rest?

The Lions' Den [at Liberty] was definitely funny. I made a wrong turn and I had to come back and make it up. That was really embarrassing. I went probably 100 meters in the wrong direction, because I couldn't see where the line was going - it kind of disappeared into the grass. So I had to turn around. That was my own fault.

So have you surprised yourself with your success?

I still don't see myself as a runner. Running is something I do. Running really doesn't define me. After school, I'm on the running team, but I also do other things in school. I was very surprised with the intensity of everything.

You're also a drummer in the school's marching band. How do you balance that out schedule-wise?

Both my coach and my [band] director are really good about, "I want you to experience as much as you can in high school." A lot of band kids that can play sports or other activities, and they don't conflict too much. Cross country practices every day right after school, and band practices are at night from like 6 [to] 8:30. With performances, I got really lucky this year. I didn't have to miss any band performances. It's all about time management.

You do all these activities, yet you still carry a 4.0 grade point average. Do you have to just spend every spare moment studying?

Well, I get by, and a lot of my friends are exactly like me. I have a lot of friends that have 4.0s or 3.8s, and they do both band and a sport, or other clubs. We're all in the same boat. I'm not incredibly exceptional.

Is running something you plan to continue in college?

This is a decision I've been trying to make. I definitely want to run, but I don't know at what level. I don't know if I want to run on a varsity team or club. I'm thinking I'll start my freshman year on a club team, but I haven't made that decision yet.

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