Episode 268: Maurica Powell – Director of Track & Cross Country at the University of Washington

Maurica Powell is Director of Track & Cross Country at the University of Washington. She specifically coaches the distance women’s team and her husband coaches the men. In 2018, Maurica coached the team to a 9th place finish which was the best finish for them since 2012.  She is off to a great start  helping develop athletes so well.

Prior to the University of Washington, she was the assistant coach at the University of Oregon where she helped the women’s cross country program go from not having qualified for the NCAA champions in 5 years to being the team NCAA runner ups in 2007 & 2008 and then becoming the national champion team in 2012 & 2016.
In 2016, Maurica was the  NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year. (wait until you hear her share about their team winning the Cross Country title that year!)  In 2016 the team also went on to win the triple crown where Oregon won Cross country, indoor track & outdoor track national titles.  During her time there she coached 6 track and field individual NCAA champions, 20 cross country All-Americans, and 79 track All Americans at Oregon.  She coached some great runners during her time there including Jordan Hasay, Nicole Blood, Laura Roesler, Katie Rainsberger, Alexi Pappas, etc.

Prior to coaching, Maurica had great success in her own running- she was a 6 time state champion in track in Massachusetts, ran at Stanford and has top 10 all-time marks for Stanford in indoor 800, outdoor 800 & 1500m.  She was also All-American in 2002 where she was 5th in the 1500m & indoor DMR (3rd).

In this episode, Maurica and I talk about her coaching career (of course!), how she recruits, how she talks with athletes about both the simple topics AND the hard topics. I appreciated Maurica’s honesty over the course of the conversation and left wanting to go grab a a margarita with her because her energy and her laugh were just so contagious.

Photo Cred: UW Athletics

What we talked about:

4:45- What Maurica has been up to

9:40- What the recruiting process looks like

13:45- When she knew that she wanted to become a coach

17:00- What she learned from coaching in the Ivy League

19:00- Her relationship with Coach Vin Lananna and what he taught her while coaching under him

23:00- Her evolution of growing into new coaching roles

25:25- Winning the 2016 cross country national championship

35:15- Working with the athletes to not let social media add pressure to them leading into races

40:35- How she individualizes training for each athlete

46:00- The process of transitioning to coaching at the University of Washington

52:00- What it’s like to coach with her husband, Andy Powell

55:40- How they manage travel schedules with having a family

1:01:50- How she helps cultivate healthy body image with her female athletes

1:15:15- How she helps athletes transition out of collegiate running

1:20:35- End of podcast questions

Show Notes: 

Maurica’s Post race interview after the 2016 XC Championships

Video of 2016 Team finding out they won the XC Championships

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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