If you've had the chance to watch any championship-style race in MoCo over the past four years, the chances are that B-CC's Nora McUmber has been at the front of the pack. In XC, she's a three-time county champion and she won the 2013 NXN Southeast Region Meet. However, Nora's not all about the dirt - she also holds two 4A state titles in track at 1600m and 3200m. With states on the horizon, Nora is poised to close out the postseason with a bang. Based off her county meet performance, it's not unreasonable to think that she will walk away from her senior year with another state title to her name. Is a return to NXN in the cards? Read on to find out what makes Nora tick...
MoCoRunning: Hey Nora, congratulations on what has thus far been yet another incredible season in your legendary XC career. Let's take a step back - how did you get into running?
McUmber: I kind of stumbled into running by accident. I went to a really small middle school (Our Lady of Lourdes) so I didn't have too many friends coming into B-CC. I joined the cross country team to meet people, because it was the only walk-on sport. Sadly, I missed cheer tryouts.
MoCoRunning: Obviously, you've been a mainstay in the top ranks of pretty much every county, region, and state meet over the past few years. At what point did you realize that you might have a knack for this whole running business?
McUmber: Hmmm, I don't think there there was a particular “moment,” and there are still moments where I wonder if I actually do have a knack. I do remember a point in my sophomore year when my teammate and I were in the newspaper representing B-CC as a “team to watch.” That's when I first remember thinking that aside from being fun, if I put in some real work maybe I could be a good runner.
MoCoRunning: Now that you're nearing the tail-end of four years of MoCo XC competition, what meet(s) stand out in your mind as particularly memorable?
McUmber: I have to say it is the county meet! It is the last meet that the JV team runs - so it's really fun to be all together one last time and a lot of people PR and everyone gets matching shirts! There is music and the B-CC XC teams loves to dance (or maybe that's just me).
MoCoRunning: I saw your team on the starting line when that Taylor Swift jam came on. B-CC definitely has moves.
You took the entire Southeast region by surprise last year at NXN Regionals. What's up your sleeve this year - are you planning to drop another 30-second PR?
McUmber: I still can't believe that happened. My team is going to NXR again this year and I would really love to break 18 again. I don't know if I will qualify to advance again, but I want to go and have a fun time with my team and work together with them in order to represent B-CC well. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to qualify, but there are so many great runners that we'll just have to wait and see.
MoCoRunning: B-CC has been such a hotbed of girls' talent in MoCo over the past few years - what's it been like to train with so many fast teammates?
McUmber: I love my team - everyone is so supportive! I think we are a close team because we have so many people who run at the same pace, so everyone is working together towards a common goal. We really aren't competitive against one another.
MoCoRunning: Okay, walk me through a little bit of what your training is like. Are you doing anything differently this season as opposed to previous years?
McUmber: My training really hasn't changed all that much. I'm doing most of my workouts with the boys now, so that is a little different than last year. I also ran a little more over the summer so I think I had a stronger base coming into the season.
MoCoRunning: What's your favorite workout? And no, “easy run” doesn't count...
McUmber: My favorite workouts is 300's! I think 300's are so fun. I'll do 300's any day!
MoCoRunning:Alright, it's time to address the elephant in the room. States is next weekend, are you ready? What's the plan?
McUmber: This year I really want to focus on our team performance and working together with my teammates during the race. It's my last year running with them - so it's now or never for us to claim a team title!
MoCoRunning: Let's talk a bit about track. You've already won numerous 4A state titles, what's left on your checklist?
McUmber: I'm excited for track this year. I hope I can lower my time in the two mile and I really hope I can be on the 4x4 again. It was really fun getting to know people I normally wouldn't get to run with.
MoCoRunning: How's the recruiting process going? I assume you're looking to compete in the NCAA next year?
McUmber: I really do want to run next year in college, but of course you go to college to invest in your future, so I'm looking for schools with an early education program and great cross country team.
MoCoRunning: Enough about running. What's your favorite pizza topping?
McUmber: My favorite pizza topping is green peppers!
MoCoRunning: Thanks a bunch Nora. One last question - isn't MoCoRunning the greatest website on the internet?
McUmber: Absolutely - MoCoRunning is the best website on the internet! (Editor's note: no coercion was applied in eliciting this response)