Jan. 26, 2012
EAST LANSING, MICH. - MSUSpartans.com caught up with the notable performers from the Notre Dame Invitational.
Becca Buchholtz (Senior, East Troy, Wisc./ East Troy)
- 1st place in the high jump
- Broke her own school record with a jump of 6-0 (1.83m)
On the events leading up to her record:
"I had just cleared 5-10 and was the only one left. I was talking with my coach (Chris Bostwick) about what we should move the bar to, and he said: "1.82m or 1.83m. 1.81m has left you home twice." We put it up at 1.83m which has been my goal for quite awhile. I took my first jump and it just wasn't quite there. I just didn't have enough effort behind it. I don't know why - but as soon as I got off the pit after my first jump I knew I was going to make my second jump. I just got to the back of the pit and gave it a really good attempt. It was pretty exciting."
On the record itself and her honor as Big Ten Co-Field Athlete of the Week:
"I feel that six feet is a really big deal in the high jump world. I feel that for women, the two big tests are jumping over your own height and jumping six feet. This has been years in the making and it is so exciting. I am so honored to be named Big Ten Co-Field Athlete of the Week."
On coming to MSU as freshman and wondering if the school record was within her reach:
"Since my sophomore year of high school I wanted to become a six foot high jumper. It's been on my radar since then. Coming here, I was just hoping that I could work hard and train hard enough to jump over six feet. I've got bigger goals now. I've always had pretty big dreams and have worked hard to achieve them."
On her training focus during the offseason:
"I was out for a little bit of the season last year, so we just focused on getting healthy. There were a couple of technical changes that we made but I'm not quite translating them into my meets yet. We are still focusing on those in practice. In the offseason, I just worked hard with my coach. He has been designing a few individual things for me - just focusing on fitness and technique and just applying that all into jumping."
On her mental preparation and focus prior to each jump:
"I am a huge advocate of the mental game. It's one of the most important things you can do and it's the reason for most of my success. High jump and pole vault are two of the most mental events in all of track & field. I do a lot of visualization and will imagine perfect jumps. It's a lot about rhythm. I'm doing a lot preparation and usually not talking to others. I stay in the zone and do my own thing. By the time I have to jump, I have a clear head and I'm ready to compete."
Beth Rohl- (RS Junior, New Buffalo, Mich./New Buffalo)
- 1st place in the weight throw
On her thoughts regarding the first two meets of the season:
"The first two meets have shown have we've developed as a team. The women's team came out and did awesome and it was amazing to watch everyone do so well as a whole, not just one event."
On what event she prefers most (weight throw, hammer throw, discus, or shot put):
"Overall, it has to be discus - but obviously I can't throw that indoors. For indoor, I would have to say weight throw."
On what it feels like to be "the one to beat" in the Big Ten Conference:
"It takes some time to get used to it when you start doing well. But the way I look at is you have to beat yourself. You have to go out there and push yourself every day and stay self-motivated and not worry about what everybody else is thinking. You just have to go out and compete."
On the guidance of throws coach John Newell:
"Coach Newell is amazing. I started throwing my senior year of high school and I came in not really knowing anything and he gets a lot of credit for getting me where I'm at today. I came from a very small high school and he transformed me into a three-time Big Ten Champion and an All-American. He will get in the weight room and push us. He knows what each person needs and can break it down. He'll let you know what to focus on in order to excel and will specialize a plan for the individual that will allow you to succeed."
Jay Gillespie (RS Senior, Allen Park, Mich./Allen Park)
- 1st place in the weight throw
On winning the weight throw in back-to-back meets and being ranked 4th in the nation in the weight throw:
"I always try to compete and win. But personally, I don't get much from winning an individual event. I just do whatever I need to do to help our standings and seedings. I'm ecstatic about being ranked as high as fourth but I want to take that number as high as I can."
On his consistency this season:
"A big part has been how our coach, John Newell, has trained us. We've done things differently and I've been feeling a lot faster, stronger, and more consistent in practice than I have in other years. It's also my fifth year and I have the experience now."
On his main competition and teammate, Lonnie Pugh:
"Lonnie is a great guy to train with - and especially compete against. Every practice for him is pure training - and I've learned from that. In past years I would try to go a little too hard in practice and Lonnie, at the end of the year, would always come out big. At a meet, when Lonnie throws well, he pumps everyone up. The excitement and atmosphere he brings to a meet is something I value very highly. He's a great teammate."
On what he worked on to get himself prepared for the indoor season:
"I've gotten a lot better this year at executing what I do at practice and applying that to the meets. My past marks haven't exactly shown how developed I was back then. This year, I've done a much better job at focusing and I feel more in control."
Kevin Yarnell (RS Sophomore, Maumee, Ohio/St. John's Jesuit)
- 1st place in the mile
On his first collegiate victory in the mile:
"It was just really exciting to win the race. Coach (Walt Drenth) told me I wasn't allowed to lead until the last lap. I just sat back for awhile and just stayed patient. As a result, I was able to win."
On the race itself:
"Originally we went into the meet thinking it was going to be scored. When we got there, they (the meet directors) decided not to score it. We were able to have a teammate pace us for the first couple of laps. The first few laps were pretty quick but we got into a rhythm by the second lap. The pacer pulled off and then Alex Wilson and I stayed patient. We were able to finish the last lap pretty well. I think there was a guy from DePaul that finished in between us - so we ended up taking first and third."
On coming off the cross country season and staying in race-shape for indoor track:
"Track gives me different perspective because in cross country it's a longer distance and you have time to get settled in during the race. With track, we are doing a lot of faster stuff and moving our legs more. Personally, I'm more of a track fan. The outlook with track is that you have be more mentally ready and physically prepared to run fast right from the gun. Cross country and track have completely different mindsets."
On event focus and what he felt he needed to improve on at the beginning of the indoor track season:
"If you were to ask coach last year he would have said everything needed improvement. Right now, it's still not where it needs to be. I do feel like everything has improved. The cross country season went a lot better this past year and that gave me a little bit of confidence. I finally feel like I can compete with the fastest guys at the meet and I needed to get that confidence back. Ideally, I wanted to focus on the mile. I might run a couple 3K's (3,000 meters) and few 800's (meters) to get my foot speed where it needs to be in order to run well at the Big Ten meet. In order to score high in those races, it really comes down to having a fast kick in the end."
Austin Wissler (Freshman, Marquette, Mich./Marquette)
- 1st place in the 800m
On winning his first collegiate 800 meter run:
"Being from the U.P. (the upper peninsula of Michigan), running the 800 (meters) up there is a different experience. I'm kind of used to leading every race. I just went out leading like I usually do in all of the high school races I ran and nobody challenged me. We went through the first 400 meters in 54 seconds. With about 300 meters to go, a guy from Notre Dame came up from behind to make a move to pass. He started to fall back - and I passed him on the final curve and I just kicked hard to finish. It ended up being a two-second PR."
On being a freshman and having success so soon:
"To be completely honest, I really expected to redshirt this entire season and build up my strength for next year but my coach (Walt Drenth) and I decided that getting in the mix as soon as possible was a good move for me."
On race tactics and strategy:
"As I move further into competition I think my strategy will definitely change. I probably won't try to lead as much - I might sit with the pace for a little bit and then make a move."
On his first year of cross country, transitioning into college track, and not suffering burnout:
"From the get go, I knew I was going to just train through cross country and try to build up my base and that's exactly what happened. Coach and I had an agreement that I was going to get ready for track and concentrate on the 800 only. I used cross country as a springboard to prepare for the indoor season and it worked perfectly. I didn't worry about fatique because I wasn't racing that often. I only raced once and it was a 5K at Eastern Michigan. I ended up getting a PR in that race so it was nice confidence booster leading into this season."