Tiger Tales is a weekly piece highlighting a DePauw student-athlete. Athletic-intern Kaela Goodwin conducts the interviews.
Junior Claudia Monnett and the cross country team are currently preparing for the Great Lakes Regional next weekend. Monnett's been a top performer for the team, having recently named to the all-NCAC First Team following a third performance at conference.
Monnett, who also runs for the track and field team is dedicated to her academics, ITAP (Information Technology Associates Program) and Greek life. She is a native of Cloverdale, Ind.
Q: What made you decide to come to DePauw?
A: DePauw was the best school academically that I applied to. I actually specifically didn't want to come to DePauw because of cross-country because I'd already talked to the coach, and I knew if I came here he was going to get me to run. As a senior in high school, I felt like my time should be over and I felt done. But I came to DePauw anyway, and I was like, "I'm going to have to run," and I did, and I'm really glad I did because all my friends are on the team, my little is on the team and my boyfriend is on the team. It just worked out really well. I'm very happy.
Q: What made you decide to run cross-country? How old were you when you started?
A: I was super uncoordinated, and I couldn't play volleyball or basketball in the sixth grade. I still had to "granny shoot" in basketball, so I decided to start running. I was horrible at it, but it didn't matter because no one got cut from the team. I started running track in sixth grade, and I ran four-minute 800s, which is horrific. My grandma would buy me two McDonald's apple pies before every meet, and I would eat them. I don't really know what she was thinking, but obviously I was going to be terrible. I started cross-country in eighth grade.
Q: What is something nobody knows about you?
A: When I ran in middle school I was horrible and totally undedicated, and I would bring my Harry Potter books out to the track when we had practice and read them in between repeats.
Q: What is one of your funniest athletic memories?
A: One time on a cross-country course I fell down in a hole, and when the course looped back around I fell in the same hole.
Q: Do you have any superstitions?
A: I don't really have any superstitions but I have a lot of compulsions and things I have to do before I race or I'm going to freak out about it. I have to drink coffee 35 minutes before I run, I have to make sure I go to the bathroom, I just have to make sure everything is right before I start racing or I'll use it as an excuse to run poorly.
Q: What are you involved in on campus outside of running?
A: I am a member of Alpha Chi Omega and I'm an ITAP (Information Technology Associates Program). My internship within ITAP is CTEP, which is the Community Technology Enhancement Program. We refurbish computers and give them out to people in the community, which is really fun and makes me feel good about myself.
Q: Where is your favorite place to study on campus?
A: I really like Roy. I like that it's dark and dingy. It makes me feel less pressure than Julian, which is too bright and has too many people.
Q: What do you want to do with your Computer Science and Political Science double major when you graduate next year?
A: I think I want to do some sort of data analysis for a political campaign or for political journalism––like a newspaper or website––to analyze what's happening in political races, see how people's opinions change over time on certain issues and find out what sort of things change people's minds using data analysis to decipher those things.
Q: Are there any older girls on the team who have specifically helped you in your time running at DePauw?
A: Yes, a girl who was a senior when I was a freshman, Ashley Guevara. She came back to visit last year during track season and inspired me.
Q: What is the best advice you've ever received?
A: I can't think of anything specific, but a lot of the things our captains have said over the years, like you have to stay mentally in the race, it's not always about your body hurting; it's about your mental competitiveness. I feel like this year I've really taken those things to heart––you can push past your physical discomfort and you have to have self-confidence.
Q: What's your favorite thing about running at DePauw?
A: Definitely the team - like I said, all of my best friends are on the team. I like that the boys and the girls' teams are together and that we have the same coach and do the same things and go to the same meets. It makes all of it more fun. In cross-country we're all running the same race so it's more competitive with your teammates to some extent, but I think that makes you a lot stronger of a runner because you have the same people to run against every day.