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SEATTLE - (Sept. 28) Seattle U Athletics sat down with senior runner Johanna Erickson to ask her some questions ahead of her 2017 cross country debut on Saturday at the Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational in Salem, Ore. Erickson finished seventh at the 2016 Western Athletic Conference Championship and made the All-WAC team. Erickson also raced to a personal best 6K time of 21:38.9 at the NCAA Championship in 2016.

Where are you from?
Edgewood, Wash. Just North of Puyallup.

What attracted you initially to running?
As a kid I did competitive gymnastics, which was always really scary for me. When I started running cross country and track, it was fun because nothing about it was scary. It was all about pushing yourself as hard as you could. Running was something that challenged me, and was hard, but wasn't something that was stressful.

What is your favorite distance to run?
It's hard to say what my favorite event is but I really like the mile and the steeplechase. The mile because I like running fast, and the steeplechase because it is a cool mixture of speed, endurance and power to get over those barriers.

What is your favorite part of running in Seattle?
The best part about running in Seattle is that you get to run through the big city, but you can still feel like you're out in nature. There are so many parks that I really feel like I can get away without leaving the city. I think that makes Seattle really unique and an awesome place to run.

What is your favorite thing to do in Seattle?
I like going down to Pike Place to browse through or get some flowers, but my favorite might be going on walks or runs through all sorts of parks. In particular, I really like the arboretum because there are so many species of plants and birds there.

What is your favorite type of music?
I really don't have a favorite genre of music. The only genre I don't really listen to is rap, but I love everything else.

What is your favorite type of food?
I would say Thai food is my favorite. It's delicious and filling without making your stomach like a rock.

Last meal?
Oatmeal for breakfast with fruit and nuts in it.

Pick one: 100 degrees or 40 degrees
40 degrees for sure, I am a true Pacific Northwest girl. I can handle terrible weather but I melt when it's hot.

What is your best memory as a Redhawk?
The WAC cross country meet my freshman year when we got first place. Even though I wasn't on the conference team that year, it was really exciting time to be streaming live results back in Seattle. It was fun to celebrate the victory with teammates afterward.

What you’re your favorite show growing up?
I used to watch Spongebob quite a bit as a kid.

What is your hidden talent?
I can whistle pretty well. I learned how as a kid and I am still pretty decent at it.

What was the last concert you saw?
I last saw Bastille in concert.

Are you a dog or a cat person?
I'm a dog person all the way. Dogs just always bring a smile to your face and love you unconditionally. They're the best.

What is your favorite sport to watch?
Obviously, I like watching track and field, but I also really like watching gymnastics when given the opportunity. I follow NCAA gymnastics pretty closely because a couple for former teammates of mine are gymnasts at UW and OSU.

Thanks Johanna!

The Willamette Charles Bowles' Invitational is not just another race for Redhawks first-year Head Coach Kelly Sullivan, it is also a homecoming. Sullivan was a runner and a head coach at Willamette University in Salem, Ore. Furthermore, Charles Bowles, the namesake of the upcoming tournament, coached Sullivan in his years as an athlete at Willamette and Mark McGuirk, current head coach of Willamette, served at Sullivan's assistant coach at Willamette.

"I'm excited," Sullivan said. "Being a Willamette graduate and having coached there seven-and-a-half years, I still have a lot of friends, family and connections to Salem. It's cool to bring this group down there where I spent so much time."

The Willamette Charles Bowles Invitational will be the third race for the Redhawks but a few runners will be making their season debuts. Race starts at 9:30 a.m. PT in Salem Ore.

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