MEDFORD - Senior tri-captain Natalie Bettez has opened the season strong with first place finishes at the Bates Invitational and Purple Valley Classic for the Tufts women's cross country team.
The Jumbos returned six seniors this season to provide some senior leadership and Bettez is one of them. She clocked a time of 18:08.8 in the 5,000 meter race at the Bates Invitational. She followed up that outing by winning a six-kilometer event recording a 22:06.9 at the Purple Valley Classic.
From Bolton, Mass., Bettez had an excellent junior season in which she finished in the top 10 four times. Her top 10 finishes included third place in the Bates Invitational and the Connecticut College Cross Country Invitational, sixth at the NESCAC Championships, and seventh at the Williams College Purple Valley Classic. Bettez also placed 11th out of 393 contestants at the NCAA Division III New England Regionals and 76th overall in the NCAA Championships. In her sophomore year she earned All-New England honors after finishing sixth in the NCAA Regional.
GoTuftsJumbos.com recently asked Bettez a series of questions to get to know her a little better ...
Question: What was the team's mentality coming into the season?
Answer: Last year we graduated a good number of seniors and our roster was significantly smaller this year. That being said, we still kept a good core of our Nationals crew from last year and we have plenty of runners who have shown lots of potential in past seasons. People always step up to the challenge, especially around championship season. This season we started with the mentality of all in, not holding anything back. If everybody gives it their all, we can have a phenomenal season. We just need to keep ourselves in the right place both mentally and physically.
Q: How do you look to build upon the success you've had in your career?
A: I have been very fortunate to see myself improve every year as part of the team, and I hope to continue that trend. Each season I go in aiming to finish better than the previous year. Especially with this being my senior year, I would love to finish on a high note.
Q: What impact has Coach Morwick had on you and the team?
A: Coach Morwick does a great job bringing in runners as underclassmen and developing them over their four years at Tufts. Every season we have some key breakthrough performances, and some of our top runners were never even recruited to the team as prospective students. The environment of the team, that everyone counts and has the possibility to improve, is one of my favorite aspects of Tufts cross country and something that really shows in races.
Q: What was the driving force behind choosing Tufts?
A: I wanted to run for a DIII school, and Tufts was the perfect balance for me in terms of size and location, being so close to Boston. Within 10 minutes of arriving for my overnight with the team, I just knew that it was the right choice for me based on the environment and the people on the team. Tufts was the last school I visited, and by the end I remember calling my parents to tell them I wanted to commit.
Q: What's been the favorite class you've taken while at Tufts?
A: People don't always believe me, but I really enjoyed both Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. They were both very well taught and had some real-life impacts that really interested me. I have always found the life sciences fascinating, and biochemistry in particular taught science related to the human body, which I loved.
Q: How many miles per week do you run on average?
A: I usually run around 50 miles a week.
Q: What is the fastest time you've ever ran a mile in?
A: I think I have maybe run a total of two one-mile races in college as it's not my event, but about a 5:19.
Q: When you aren't running, what are some of your favorite activities?
A: I am part of Tufts Emergency Medical Services (TEMS) here on campus, and I love the patient care aspect of healthcare. I also spent last semester in Seville, Spain studying Spanish, and that was an incredible opportunity to travel as well as immerse myself in another culture. The semesters here at Tufts can get quite busy with schoolwork and running, but during the summer when I have more time I am a huge reader. I also enjoy puzzles and we always bring some with us during our team pre-season trip.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Greek yogurt, I eat it every day.
Compiled By Athletic Communications Intern Bryan Costello