Oregon MileSplit editor Jake Willard interviewed Ella Donaghu after the Grant senior ran 17:26 for a 6A state title and Lane Community College course record. You can watch the video above, or read the interview below.
You've been on the podium many times, but what does it mean for you to get the course record?
I think, honestly, it's an extra credit point. At the state meet, the priority is always just to come out here and race really hard. And that was definitely the goal today. But, you know, when I realized that I felt good a mile in, I was like--you know what, let's just go for it and see what happens. And I was super happy that I went for it. If I just stayed complacent, I would have had a few regrets.
Were you worried about the weather at all? Was the rain going to be a factor in whether or not you were going to go for it?
Yeah, I was. My coach talked to me and said "Hey, if it's really nasty, it might be a little more dangerous to try to go for it early--if you get a gap, people might be able to work together and maybe catch you."
I think regardless of what the weather was going to be like, I was set in my mind that I was going to go for it. It's my last year, why not? Don't hold anything back this year, leave everything out there, and see what you can do.
Not too many people have come close to you the state of Oregon--obviously Ember [Stratton] near you. What's the mindset going forward to this part of the season, now that you're finally going to get some people to run with?
I love this part of the season because you know every single race, there's going to be someone up there. And that brings out the best in me. Competing with girls around the region is no different, and I'm really, really excited for [Nike Northwest] regionals. I think that if I keep training hard and stay healthy, I'll have a good chance to make it back to NXN [where she was 10th in 2014], and that's always super fun and exciting. It's my senior year; I'm just trying to enjoy everything because this goes by so fast. You take everything for granted, but I'm never going to be a high schooler again, so I really gotta soak this all up and enjoy every moment of it.
I mentioned Ember Stratton earlier. You're graduating, she's only a freshman and she's that close to you. What does it mean to have her there--are you excited for the future with her?
She's incredible. When I was a freshman, I think people talked about me as really good and she's so much better than I was back then! So I have so much respect for her. I root for kids like that, because that was once me, and it's super tough to be really good when you're young and be expected to be so much.
I'll be rooting for her sure, she's a great competitor and she'll be doing some really cool things in the next couple years.
This interview has been edited and condensed.