Catching Up With Kansas' Alli Cash
Last spring at the adidas Grand Prix, high school track and field fans got to know Alli Cash (Sr., Shawnee Mission West, KS). After winning three state titles (800m, 1,600m, 3,200m) at the Kansas State Track and Field Championships, Cash flew to New York City and turned in the finest performance of her career to date, as she finished third in the mile, crossing the finish line in 4:39.98.
Carrying that momentum into the fall, Cash cruised through her senior cross country season, placing second at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational and taking home another individual state title, while leading her team to a third place finish. At the NXN Heartland Regional, Cash finished sixth after dealing with a minor hamstring injury. With two more weeks to heal up and prepare for Nike Cross Nationals, Cash has her eyes on a high finish in Portland and proving herself once again against the very best in the country.
Scott Bush (SB): You closed out your regular season with a second consecutive Kansas state cross country title. To end your in-state racing career on such a very high note, what does that mean to you?
Alli Cash (AC): It means a lot to be able to finish 1st for two years, and to make it to the State meet with both the girls and boys team for 4 years in a row. Rim rock is a hall engine course but the scenery and atmosphere there are beautiful.
SB: With the big post-season meets coming up, what are your post-season expectations?
AC: My goals are always to improve upon the previous years, I try to look at past course times and set breaking those times as my goal. I have had some hamstring issues the past few weeks but hopefully the flare up will subside. Of course I want to have fun too because that's what it's all about.
SB: You've made a big jump since last fall, where you placed 40th overall at NXN. What do you attribute the rise in your performance over the past year to?
AC: I would attribute that to my teammates, I have great people to train with and we all help to motivate each other. I also would say summer conditioning is another important factor because A few of us did a 400/500 mile club where you run, bike, and swim a total of 400/500 from the start of summer to time trials a couple weeks after school starts.
SB: For the vast majority of your season you compete in 4k races, but when you get to the post-season races like NXN you jump up to the 5k distance. What kind of training have you implemented to be able to race well over that 1k increase in distance?
AC: We have done a lot of work on our home cross country course and I have done the same amount of intervals as the boys who run the 5k so hopefully that helps with extra 1k.
SB: You placed third this past track season in the adidas Grand Prix mile. What was that experience like for you?
AC: It was one of the coolest experiences of my life and I will never forget a moment of it. I got to run around the harbor in New York for a warmup/ cool down and got to know and race with people who enjoy running just a much as I do. It was so much fun!
I didn't worry about running fast and I think that was a big part of why I performed well, I decided I would enjoy the moment and run for myself and the pure joy I get from racing. I knew I had put in the work to run well, it was just a matter of putting everything together on the right day.
SB: The college decision process is taking place right now. Have you made your choice of where you'll be attending school next fall yet?
AC: I definitely want to run in college. I'm looking at schools more now, but fall is always extremely busy with schoolwork so I will be a lot more focused on what college I plan on attending after cross season.
SB: You've had tremendous success both in cross country and track. Do you prefer one to the other?
AC: I like them both for different reasons. I like cross because I love the team aspect of it, I like track because you can do so many different events and can do a variety of speed and long distance races all in one meet.
Fast Four Questions
SB: Shoes you train in?
SB: Favorite food?
SB: Car you drive?
AC: Ford focus
SB: Best band?
AC: Imagine Dragons