|Klas is a senior at Mauldin High School. (Brian Keck/staff photographer)|
klas: I started to run track my eighth grade year (of school).
scrunners: What or whom gave you the idea to run?
klas: My soccer trainer and family friend, Mark Wilson.
scrunners: Does or did anyone else in your family run?
klas: My mom started to run once I got into track and cross country.
scrunners: What other sports did you play prior to becoming a runner?
klas: I was a soccer player and a swimmer.
scrunners: What kind of training did you undergo this summer?
klas: I ran about 35-40 miles a week with about two speed workouts a week. I also went to a running camp for a week with some of my teammates where we ran about 60 miles.
scrunners: How has your summer training progressed from your first year as a runner?
klas: Each summer has been a little more intense.
scrunners: Did you attend a running camp this summer?
scrunners: If so, where did you go?
klas: I went to Brevard Distance Running Camp.
scrunners: How did you benefit from the camp?
klas: Because the camp was in the mountains, I definitely benefited greatly from this camp. I believe I became a stronger runner in just that week of intense training. The hills around Mauldin High School seem much smaller after conquering those at Brevard.
scrunners: Explain to the scrunners.com how your 2004 State Championship cross country race unfolded.
klas: My race at the 2004 State Championship cross-country race did not go as planned. I started out right where I wanted to be (in the top 10), and held that pace until the second mile. Then as I was running up the sandy trail in the last mile, I strained my back, and the race went downhill from there. I finished around 23rd, which was very disappointing to me. I don't remember the end of the race because of all the strain I had put on myself, and at the end of the race I actually passed out. It wasn't a good race for me at all, and it was very disappointing. But after experiencing such a devastating event, I've become a better person with a stronger will power. As upsetting as the event was, I believe I learned a lot from it, and I know it's going to help me later on in life. I especially believe it has helped me to be the runner I am now. I certainly have a greater desire than ever to take home the Gold this year at the State Championships.
Full Name: Lauren Elizabeth Klas|
Date of Birth: Nov. 13, 1987
Brothers/Sisters: older sister- Ashleigh Klas (19-years old), twin brother- Andrew Klas (17-years old), younger sister- Kimberly Klas (14-years old)
Academic Interest: Business, Pharmacy, and Psychology (I'm not sure which one)
Hobbies: Running of course, reading, hanging out with my friends and family
Personal Bests: 800m- 2:22, 1600m- 5:14, 3200m- 11:26, 5k- 18:43
scrunners: When did you find out the team score and how did the team react after finishing second to Dorman, by nine points (106-115)?
klas: I found out that we lost by nine points after I recovered from my incident. My coach pulled me to the side, and told me the devastating news with a lot of hurt in his eyes. And right then and there I knew that I would never let something like that happen again. The team was very upset as well because there were many of us who believed we could have done better. We knew we put the work in, but we came up short. We sat in a circle after the awards, staring at our second place trophy, and made a vow to work twice as hard the following year, and do everything in our power to take the first place trophy home with us the next year. And now we are just a few weeks away from the battle, and I believe we are more ready than ever.
scrunners: How would you like to improve individually at the state meet?
klas: I would like to go under 19 minutes again. I would also love to place in the top five this year.
scrunners: Based on your summer training, and Mauldin's what goals did you and your team set for the season?
klas: The girls and I have had our hearts on winning the State Championship since Nov. 4, 2004. Although we had two of our top five hurt practically all summer, I believe we worked exceptionally hard this summer. Our drive has been nonstop, which has inspired me to work even harder. The two girls that were hurt put in a lot of work as well. They had to enter the season with no summer training, and still they've managed to earn spots within our top five. I believe that if it wasn't for all the girls that run varsity, I would not be where I am today with my training. Each girl pushes another until it's impossible to run any harder.
scrunners: How would you say you and the team have done so far on achieving these goals?
|"I believe we've done very well in our process so far. We've kept the right attitude throughout the entire season, and we're definitely ready to do our absolute best once the State Championship arrives."|
--Klas, on goal setting
klas: I believe we've done very well in our process so far. We've kept the right attitude throughout the entire season, and we're definitely ready to do our absolute best once the State Championship arrives.
scrunners: Who helped you in setting these goals?
klas: I definitely believe Coach Howell has helped us in setting these goals, and he's certainly helped us in the process to achieve our ultimate goal. He's always so encouraging, and he has so much faith in the entire team. His attitude spreads to the girls and inspires us to go one step further.
scrunners: How does your training progress as the season comes to a close?
klas: In the last month before the State Championship, we begin to work harder than we have all season. The workouts are longer and faster with less recovery time in between each interval. We do this for two weeks, and then we slowly begin to cut back. In the last two weeks before State, we are just maintaining what we've accomplished all season.
scrunners: Would you consider yourself a better track runner or cross country runner, why? klas: If this question were asked last year, I would have definitely said I was a better track runner. But after this season, and the progression I've made with the help of my teammates, it's hard for me to determine. I love both sports because they are completely different, but I don't know how to determine with one I am better at.
scrunners: Do you remember your first event?
scrunners: Where was it, when and how did you do?
klas: My first race ever was a road race at Furman. I ran the Paris Mountain 5k with a family friend, Mark Wilson, Dec. 2000. He was the one who convinced me to try running out. I absolutely hated Mark because I had never felt like that before in my life. It was the first time I'd ever run hard in my life, so I hated running at that point. I ended up running a 20:24 (which is probably faster than a regular cross-country 5k race because it was on the road), and Mark convinced me to go out for the track team after that race. Now I love running, so I'm very grateful for Mark.
scrunners: As a senior, how is college searching going?
klas: The college search is going great. I love the opportunities running has given me, and I feel very blessed because of them.
scrunners: Are you looking to run in college?
klas: I definitely want to run in college. It has taught me so much, and I don't know what I would do with all the spare time I would have if I didn't have to run 24-7. haha.
scrunners: On college visits, what kind of questions have you asked or will ask and what kind of responses have you received?
klas: I've been on two college visits so far; USC and Birmingham Southern, and I will be visiting Clemson this weekend and Furman the week after state. I believe it's important to understand what type of training the school does. This way you will know if your personal style of training will fit in theirs. I also ask the girls that run at the colleges what they think of the program, in order to receive honest answers. I believe this helps to get a real feel of what that particular college and running program is like. Because running is not the only thing I look into with colleges, looking into the academic side of each college is very important too.
scrunners: What kind of advice do you have to young and future runners about the sport and how to make it a life long activity?
klas: I would advise other runners to run because you love the sport. Don't make your running career a job, or you will never reach your full potential. I would also advise other runners to enjoy your high school career because it goes by so incredibly fast.
scrunners: Does your team have a tradition prior to a meet? How was the tradition established?
klas: Before a meet our team does our usual 10-minute warm-up after a good long stretch. We focus on being warm and stretched out once we get to the starting line, and then we do a series of calisthenics five minutes before race time. The most important tradition to me is our usual prayer prior to each race. We say the Lord's Prayer, and then we say our usual chant… "GO MAVS! YOU WEAK!" Most people don't completely understand what it means… but it was a tradition started before I even started running. It basically is telling the competitors that they are weak and Mauldin is strong.
scrunners: What keeps you motivated to get out the door on a daily basis for training and life?
klas: My main focus for motivation is most definitely my faith. I believe God gave me a gift, and that he wants me to use it to the best of my ability. I focus on praising God in all I do, whether it be in running or just daily life.
scrunners: Have you ever been injured? If so, what happened and what did you learn from this injury?
klas: I was injured throughout my entire freshman year. I suffered from a hip injury during cross-country, and a shin injury during track. From this injury, I learned to treat any type of irritation before it turns into something serious, and I also learned to never over-do any type or training because it often results in injury.
scrunners: What kind of cross-training did you do during this time? Or did you take time off?
Because I was so young, and so new to running I didn't cross-train as much as I should have. But when I was cross-training I was working out on the stationary bike.
scrunners: When you were in this injury mode, what kept you motivated to get back on the course, road or track after recovery?
klas: Encouragement from my teammates, Mark Wilson, my parents, and Coach Howell kept me the most motivated.
scrunners: What has been your most challenging race? How did you do in this race? Why was this race your most challenging?
klas: My most challenging race was the State Championship race last year because I got hurt during the race. I had to push through the pain and stay motivated to even finish the race. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
scrunners: What kind of race scenario works best for you and when the race scenario changes, how do you adapt?
klas: I usually adapt my racing depending upon who I'm competing with. If it's a big race like Coaches Classic, I run off the front runners and focus on slowly picking girls off one-bye-one. If it's a small region meet, then I run off of my teammate Alyssa Kulik and focus on staying within 20-seconds of her.
scrunners: What would you say is the most prestigious meet you have competed in?
klas: The Wendy's Invitational is always a very prestigious meet during our season. The Footlocker Race is also a prestigious race I compete in post-season.
scrunners: What were you thinking as you stepped to the line for your race(s) that day?
klas: The one thing my coach always says when we step to the line at races as prestigious as Wendy's and Footlocker is "GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!" He wants us to focus on not getting stuck in the middle of the pack, but getting out to the front where we have room to breathe. I personally focus on staying relaxed and having fun doing the thing I love.
scrunners: Have you ever met a professional athlete? If so, what did you talk to he or she about? Where did you meet this athlete?
klas: I've never met a professional athlete.
scrunners: Where is your favorite place to train?
klas: I loved having the opportunity to run in the mountains on trails at Brevard.
scrunners: Do you have a favorite cross-country course? If so, which one and why?
klas: I don't have one course that I love in particular. But like most runners, I enjoy the courses that are more flat with good footing. J
scrunners: What do you look for in a coach and what do you expect a coach to look for in you?
klas: On the college visits that I have taken, I look for the Coach to be as passionate about his job as Coach Howell is about his. He loves us all so much, and gives all of his time and effort to make each one of us better. I expect a coach to look for drive and passion in a runner as well. I believe the only way a runner is going to be successful is if he/she truly wants to become a better runner and is willing to do the work to achieve that goal.
scrunners: Do you or Mauldin have any rivals? If so, how did these rivals develop and when do they become the most intense?
klas: I would definitely say that Mauldin's rival is Dorman High School. They are ranked second in the state and are the defending State Champs from last year. This rivalry became the most intense for my team last year when they defeated us at the State Championships, I would say that now it is the most intense it's ever been. But I do truly respect each runner at Dorman High School. They have pushed my team to our limits, and the reason we have been so successful is because of Dorman's ability and our strive to be better than that.
scrunners: Have you ever thought about coaching cross country or track in the future? If so, what level and why?
klas: I've never thought of being a coach for cross-country or track.
scrunners: What do you see happening with running in South Carolina in the future? How would you like to be involved?
klas: I definitely see running in South Carolina improving even more. Each year, the intensity and talent has become exceedingly greater. It is so amazing to see how hard these girls work, and how talented these athletes are.
scrunners: With Mauldin's depth as a team, what do you see that team developing into in the future?
klas: I definitely see Mauldin only improving. Those girls work so hard every day; it is constantly a competition to be top seven. Our JV team is absolutely amazing. They finished first last week with runners holding all top seven places in the JV race. I'm amazed by how much this team has improved and grown since I was a freshman. I sense a dynasty coming on from the Mauldin girls.
scrunners: If there is one thing in the world you could do, what would it be, why, and how do you see yourself achieving this agenda?
klas: I would love to go on a ministry trip where I could work with kids. I love the way it feels when you know you've helped someone out or just made someone smile. I hope to go on a ministry trip after college.