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Stacey Eden, a standout runner (and former state champion) at Shelby County High School, has spent the last three years at the University of Kentucky competing for the cross-country and track & field teams. In the spring, however, Eden decided to transfer to the University of Louisville. He’ll have one season of eligibility remaining in cross country and two seasons remaining in indoor and outdoor track. Sentinel-News Sports Writer Josh Cook caught up with Eden earlier this week.
The Sentinel-News:What are you up to this summer?
Stacey Eden:“I’ve been doing a lot of running, getting ready for UofL, and doing some BMX racing, a little more than I’ve done the last few years.”
S-N: Speaking of UofL, why did you decide to transfer there from UK?
SE:“Before my junior year, we got all new coaches. The head coach (Don Weber) retired and the coach from Stanford (Edrick Floreal) came in and pretty much cleaned house. We got all new coaches. I was really looking forward to it, but things didn’t exactly go the way I hoped. I wasn’t getting any better, unfortunately. I grew up a big UofL fan – I actually thought about going there coming out of high school – so when I got my transfer papers, I talked to [UofL assistant] coach [Joe] Walker at UofL. (Eden said Walker told him that he had one open spot on his team). It just kind of worked out.”
S-N: How excited are you about going to UofL?
SE:“I’m super excited, my parents are super-excited too. They both went to Louisville. My dad played golf at UofL, so they’re pretty pumped up as well.”
S-N: You redshirted last indoor and outdoor track seasons at UK, were you injured?
SE:“Toward the end of Christmas break I was having some Achilles issues, which I’ve struggled with pretty much my entire running career. We decided to redshirt indoors and start focusing on outdoors. [But as outdoor season neared Eden said he figured he might as well redshirt that one as well] I talked to coach and he agreed that was probably the smart thing to do.”
S-N: So you don’t have to sit out, you can compete right away for UofL in the fall, correct?
SE:“If you transfer within the conference, you had to sit out.…But because I’m transferring out of conference, there’s not wait. I should be suited up in red and running cross country in the fall.”
S-N: What are you majoring in?
SE:“Accounting, so transferring definitely works out because you have to go an extra year anyway if you want to get your CPA.”
S-N: What’s your goal for next season?
SE:“For myself, I don’t have any specific times [I want to hit], for the most part. UofL should have a really good team this year. They expect to make it to nationals and maybe the top 10, so I’m just looking to be part of that, that would be pretty cool. Stay healthy, that’s the main thing. If I can do that I should be able to stay in the top five and make it to nationals with the team, I think that would be pretty sweet to do.”
S-N: What will you miss about UK?
SE:“I went there three years. I definitely made some great friends. It was a blast. I’ll miss my friends and my coaches. I don’t want to bash my coach; it [transferring] is not because of him at all. I’ll miss everything about it, but it was just time for me to turn the page and see what UofL has to offer.”
S-N: You’ve always been active in BMX, too. You said you’ve been racing more this summer, tell me about that?
SE:“Since I’ve been in college, it was all about running. But I’ve been riding BMX since I was 4. This summer I’ve tried to ride a little more. I’ve been to North Carolina and Nashville, and I’m going to Pittsburgh this weekend. I’m trying to have a good time and still focus on my running. It’s my first love; it’s hard to really give it up. I’ve got to stay sane somehow.”
S-N: You’re also a big patriot [he has patriot posts on Twitter from time to time], tell me about that?
SE:“I used to have an old Ford Ranger, it said, ‘I am America’ across the front. I wore a USA American flag suit to one of our banquets at UK. I just try to support America. It’s a great country. I try to support it as much as I can. I’ve raced in four World Championships in BMX with Team USA. It’s got a big place in my heart.”
S-N: So with that in mind how are you celebrating the Fourth of July?
SE:“I’ll actually be driving up to Pittsburgh, Pa., for a BMX race. Maybe we’ll find something to do when we get up there, but nothing too crazy. When I was younger, I was kind of a little pyromaniac, I love fireworks.”
S-N: How crazy did you get?
SE:“We weren’t always the safest kids. We’d have Roman Candle wars, things like that, but I’ve still got all my fingers, so I guess I wasn’t too bad.”