By: Peter Gambaccini, Runner's World Magazine
Delilah DiCrescenzo, who is now back at her alma mater, Columbia University, as a graduate student and assistant coach, comes off a successful winter in which she placed fourth at the USA Cross Country Championships and was 33rd, the second American, at the World Cross Country Championships in Jordan. She was the 2007 USATF National Club Cross Country champion. Dicrescenzo, now 26, was the Heptagonals (Ivy League) 3000-meter steeplechase champion three times and was third in the event at the 2006 USA Championships. In 2008, the Chicago native lowered her steeplechase personal best to 9:41.68, making her the fifth-fastest American in the event for the year. She ran strongly early in the U.S. Olympic Trials final but drifted back and finished 14th. Dicrescenzo is coached by Isaya Okwiya, runs for team Riadha, and is a PUMA-sponsored athlete.. And yes, she is the Delilah of the song "Hey There Delilah" by the Plain White T's.
You had a great cross country season. To what do you attribute that, in terms of changes in your preparation or situation? Why do you think it's been such a good year for you so far?
Delilah DiCrescenzo: We made it our focus to do well at cross country nationals. Our goal all along was to make the Worlds team. And that really worked well as far as how the outdoor season is going to play out. My progression at this point, compared to last year, is a little bit more delayed. We're pushing things back a little bit. We're keeping the strength up, and longer intervals and things like that. In effect, I'll be running faster at the champion time of the (outdoor track) season - which didn't necessarily happen last year. My timing was a little off. We think this will be effective for accomplishing my outdoor goals.
You'd traveled internationally before as an athlete; you'd run those steeplechases in Brazil. But Jordan was less of a known quantity, and you were surrounded by great athletes from all over the world. It must have been a terrific adventure for you.
DD: Yeah. It was unlike any other country I've been to, and I was facing a caliber of runners much higher than any I'd raced before. I was really happy to be 33rd overall. I really didn't know how I was going to fare in the field, and plus, the 8K is still an unfamiliar distance for me. I don't really know how to run it, and these courses are so different. It was the fourth time I'd run this distance. In upcoming seasons, I'll continue to do cross country nationals, and I'll just get better at the event, I'm hoping. I really enjoyed my experience out in Jordan. USATF and the staff took care of us. They really made it a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to going back and representing the USA in years to come.
To read the rest of the Dicrescenzo's Q&A with Runner's World Magazine, please click here.