This issue, Contributor Kimberly Smith sat down with Tower Yearbook's editor in chief, Sheree Shea, to discuss her leadership role and involvement in cross country.
1. How did you get involved with the Tower yearbook?
Freshman year I was looking for a job on LionJobs prior to school, and I wasn't super involved with yearbook in high school but my cross-country coach actually was the yearbook advisor so I was always in there. I ended up writing captions in high school, very minimal yearbook experience then I interviewed for a position and I was hired three days before school started as a sports section editor. So my involvement with the sports team on campus, I think benefitted me getting hired for that position.
2. How do you juggle being the editor-in-chief of the yearbook and being on the cross-country team?
Yeah I practice probably around 30 hours a week and that’s just scheduled practices. Yearbook on the other end is about 15, so I'm pretty organized and can get my stuff done when I need it to be done. It hasn't really presented too much of a challenge to me. I was promoted last year from editorial director which is a subordinate position to editor-in-chief this year. So as of right now it's pretty much just balancing my responsibilities as best I can and I haven't really had a conflict yet.
3. What's your favorite part about being editor-in-chief?
Just the application of my interests and student media in general has grown so much since coming to school and getting involved with yearbook and managing people, I guess you could say. Just learning so much, because I'm a business major as well. It just kind of encompasses everything that I do in life.
4. How did you react when you found out you were the West Coast Conference Runner of the Month for September?
I was happy with it, I guess, (laughs). It's an honor to be honored as any form of runner of the month of any collegiate recognition for athletics. It’s a pretty big deal. I wasn't expecting it at all because there are definitely so many runners in the WCC that could of contended for that for September.
5. How do you pump yourself up for big races?
I took eight months off; I took a redshirt season last year so this season was particularly important for me emotionally. I haven't raced for about a year so this was probably the first season for me that I was actually nervous. Prior to this, for freshman through junior year, I haven't really been nervous that's just sort of my demeanor for approaching races but yeah it's mostly just confidence, just silent confidence I guess you could say. Just knowing that the work I've done will produce results when it needs to.
6. Do you have any big races coming up or have you had any recently?
Last weekend on the 27th, we had a conference. I got third, I was favored going in but you know it was a very tactful race in terms of strategy with the other teams as well so it came down to the last 1200 meters of the race and I don't attribute myself to having much foot speed in general, I couldn't hold them off so I did end up placing third. I do have a very big race coming up next Friday. It's the West Regional Meet. It's going to be in Seattle and I have to be top 25 in the race and top 4 on a non-qualifying team to make it to NCAA's so it's a battle. I've battled since day one stepping on the NCAA scene. I've been first not to go to NCAA's twice, in both cross-country and track so that has been a mental blockade for me since 2011. So I've been first loser twice pretty much (laughs), I've had enough of that.
7. Where is your favorite place to run on campus?
We don't run on campus I guess. We just do runs, and I guess the typical one we do is the Marina loop just around the beach on the bike path down there. I really like our workout behind the LMU letters trail, it's new this year. We do four miles down there and it's pretty peaceful, you look to the left and see everything that's out there, just what the city has to offer and at the same time you're running through what you could call the biggest metropolitan city in the west coast. Just that balance of the campus being so beautiful and the city as well.
8. Who are some people that you look up to?
I look up to my mom. She was one of the first woman marathoners in the U.S. in the 70s. She was the first class of women to be able to run in the Olympics as a sport so she was the top five at Boston up near the front at the New York marathon in the 70s, so she’s been a constant idol of mine. My coach, my high school coach as well as my collegiate coach. Number one thing you want to do coming from high school to college is improve and right off the bat. I improved so that's saying something about the program we have here at LMU, not a lot of people do that so I definitely respect my coach.
9. What is the most difficult part in training for cross-country?
Probably the long summer and just being patient. I've learned from training in college in general that we only race five times, so you have to hit those five times right on the nose every single time. In June when you're starting to train, you have to be very patient with the pace that you're running and just not running too fast because [by] the time it hits November you'll be pretty burned out so just the patience involved.
10. What do you think about while you're running?
(Laughs) It depends on the work out. I am generally either with the back end of the guys team or by myself so I'm pretty much thinking about my goals and you know getting in a quality workout and getting to that NCAA meet. In a fun run or a casual run what we call a training run definitely just conversing with my teammates, having fun and making every moment count. And just being appreciative. I got hurt last year is basically why I didn't run, it really taught me to appreciate every step I take.
11. Why do you enjoy running?
Aside from the physical qualities of it obviously, you can't beat what you get out of physically, the body that you achieve from it but probably because it's fun and I have a lot of success at it in general. Stepping on the line of a race and knowing that you've done what you need to do to either win it or get in the top 10, it's pretty exciting.
12. Does your involvement with the team and the yearbook ever conflict?
It does, in terms of sometimes on the weekends and then sometimes I'll have late meetings on a Tuesday then practice at 7 in the morning the next day. So going to bed at 12 midnight then waking up at 7 to go run is probably the biggest conflict I have but aside from that as a senior academically, my academics aren't too demanding so I have a lot of time in my schedule to keep those balanced out.
13. Do you and your teammates have any pre-race rituals?
We have our “Say it loud, say it proud, Lions have pride on three” and I'm the one to do that cheer before every meet, right before we start on the starting line. It's pretty empowering.
14. What can you tell us about what the Tower is going to look like this year?
Well, if I told you, I'd have to kill you. (Laughs) No, I'm just kidding. Well, it's going to be epic. Tower has grown so much since I've come on staff and just the direction we are taking it with in terms of design and content it's going to be really, really, really amazing.
15. Are there any new things specifically that you're planning for the yearbook this year?
Yeah we are really trying to promote the book more than we have in the past. A lot of social media stuff, we have a website now that's brand new, one that is updated often. And just gearing the content toward directing it to get as many students in the book as possible, making it so students want to pick up their book because they are in it and they should know that they are in it before it comes out because we've been hitching that social media campaign with it as well.