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December 10, 2020
Catarina Rocha is November Athlete of the Month
Catarina Rocha has highlight performances in cross and on track
(Ocean State AC / Providence RI) is the USATF-New England Athlete of the Month for November 2020. Rocha repeated as winner of the women’s 5km race at the USATF-NE Cross Country Championships in Nashua, NH on November 21. She crossed the finish line in 16:20, nearly 20 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.
Additionally, Rocha served as one of the pacers for Molly Huddle’s one-hour race, in which Huddle broke the United States record, on November 1. Rocha went on to finish the race with a total of 16,252 meters, a distance which also bettered the previous record.
This marks Rocha’s second time being named the USATF-NE Athlete of the Month. She previously won in 2012 after winning the Footlocker Northeast Regional cross country race as a senior at Peabody High School. She finished the 5km in 17:49.5, 19 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
As a collegiate athlete, Rocha was a part of the Providence College team that won the NCAA Championship in 2013. She also won the 5000 at the 2016 Big East Outdoor Track Championships in 16:20.32 and is a two-time All-American in Cross Country.
USATF-NE spoke with Rocha about her performance.
You paced Molly Huddle for the first 10,000 of her one hour race in which she broke the American record, how did you two get connected?
: We both have the same coach, we’re both coached by Ray Treacy. He was my college coach, and he’s been Molly’s coach for many years now, so he thought it would be a good opportunity for me to be able to at least get on a track, with all the limited races, and anything I could do to help Molly, I would love to do. He said if you can do the pace for 10k, 5 miles, whatever it is, then you would be able to do it, so that’s kind of how it happened.
: You’ve now won the USATFNE Cross Country Championships in consecutive years. Do you plan on attempting the threepeat next year?
: Depending on if there are meets. I hope I can run next year; that’d be awesome. My favorite season is cross country, so I’m definitely hoping to be back and running that if there are no other races on the schedule.
: Both of your parents qualified for the Olympic trials, with your dad qualifying for the 10,000 and your mom competing in the marathon trials. Is that something you see yourself doing someday?
: I would hope so, yeah, with Covid everything kind of changed. I was hoping to qualify for the Olympic trials in the 10,000, but I don’t think, with the limited meets, that will happen. Hopefully in the coming years, the next four years. I really want to run a marathon, so maybe I can run the standard to get in the Olympic Trials, but that’s pretty far away for right now. Right now, I’m just enjoying being healthy and taking any race that I can get.
Do you have a particular race that you consider to be your most memorable performance?
I just started running post-collegiately about two years ago, so I haven’t had that many opportunities to race yet. It's probably from college when our team won the NCAA championship in cross country in 2013.
: What are you working towards right now?
Just to stay healthy and to get as fit as I can in this time with no races, and enjoying the process.