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Track & Field
Track Quotes: Week 4
Senior Carlie Green placed third in the 3000m invite at the Meyo Invitational last weekend.
Senior Carlie Green placed third in the 3000m invite at the Meyo Invitational last weekend.

Feb. 9, 2012

EAST LANSING, MICH. - Midweek quotes from Walt Drenth, Carlie Green, Kevin Jackson, and Josh McAlary.

Walt Drenth - Director of Track & Field

On whether or not the mid-season emergence of his top athletes was premeditated coaching or a testament to their competitive experience:
"In track and field, we know where our best athletes are development-wise in nearly every event.  We also know that they are going to perform like we want them to.  We have a history of performing well at the end of the season…so naturally their competitive nature starts to kick in when we get closer to the championships."

On which athletes have seen the greatest improvement:
“I would say Shatora Lewis and Antonio James are probably two people who come to mind right away.  I  would also say that almost the entire group of freshmen women sprinters have really stepped into roles  that we knew they would fill - but they are filling them at certainly a higher rate than we anticipated.  With Tori Franklin, we thought she was going to be pretty good, but her acceleration is becoming a little steeper than we thought it would be.”

On splitting the team between the Spire Invitational and the GVSU Big Meet:
“We are taking people to the Spire Invitational that we anticipate bringing to the conference meet.  We are taking people to Grand Valley who we believe are going to be very critical to our success as we move along.  We also need to see them perform in a different environment that allows them step into roles where they need to take a little more responsibility for the outcome of their performance and create an equitable, competitive opportunity.  If we knew there was a core group of people in a particular event that were similar, we didn’t feel it was necessary to split them up.   We want to see everyone nurtured…and we think it’s really critical this weekend that we give our developmental people a chance.  We are going to rely on them heavily by the time we get to the outdoor season as well as next year.”

Carlie Green - 3rd in the 3000m

On her third-place finish in the 3000m:
“It was my first 3K (3000m) of the season and I was excited about it.  I have competed in a couple of 1600-meter events but it was definitely a transition into a longer distance race.  I’m definitely not a 10K runner but I really like the 3K and the 5K on the track.  I like finding a good rhythm and running fast - but not for longer than a mile.  Going into the 3K this weekend, I was really just looking forward to seeing what I could do. I’ve had a really good block of training and I sat out the week before to get in a lot hard workouts and I was anxious to see how it was going to play out. 

We got to the track and I was by myself in the invite section - which sometimes is fun - but sometimes it’s not because I didn’t have my teammates racing with me.  Before the race started, coach (Walt Drenth) told me that this is going to be a really competitive 3K.  He told me that I have a shot to win, so don’t worry about the time and just try to get yourself in a good position and be competitive.  The race began and I actually felt really, really good.  I felt really relaxed and controlled and it was encouragement for me knowing that my training was paying off and I knew I could run faster.  I remember there was a point in the race that they (the other runners) kind of got away from me.  I actually watched the race on Flotrack and I saw the exact point where I should have made a decision to follow and didn’t.  I’m looking forward to my next 3K so I can respond correctly the next time I need to make a big move.  If I would have made that move, the race could have gone differently and I could have won or at least had a faster time.   I’m excited to run it again.”

On whether or not she had any breakthroughs in her training that pointed towards a strong race:
“A lot of it was probably a culmination of cross country in the fall.  I ran a lot more miles, more than I ever had before.  I usually ran to 60-65 miles per week in the past but this past summer I went up to 75 miles per week.  I was doing a 15-mile long run which was considerably more than I have done before, so was looking forward to see how this type of training was going to play out - not only in cross country - but in track as well.  I’ve always loved track and just being able to run fast.  I don’t think there was any specific workout.  It was more a combination of my training which began last May and the work I’ve put in up to where we are now.”

On weaknesses she wanted to fix going into her final year:
“I’ve had some nagging injuries.  In cross country, I had to sit out regionals, which was kind of was a shocker for me because I wasn’t expecting that.  I had some tendonitis in my achilles that flared up.  I thought I was done with it way back in my sophomore and junior year.  That return of that injury kind of was a wake-up call for me in that I needed to take care of myself, especially with running more miles and the increased intensity of workouts.  You are never really at a relaxed point in training.  I think from a running aspect, I was looking forward to doing more speed stuff because you don’t really do that in cross country.  To get on the track and really run fast is something that I love doing.  We have certain workouts for reasons and I benefit from those.   This year, it’s just trying to stay healthy and trust my training.”

On where she thinks the team is at from a progress standpoint going into the Big Ten Indoor Championships:
“I’m very excited and I’m really looking forward to the Indoor Championships.  I think we are really at a turning point as a program.  We’ve seen that in cross country.  We have had back-to-back Big Ten titles and this is not something that just happens.  The coaches talk about this all the time, “winning one is really special but to come back and repeat makes a statement”.  It’s really good for our program – not just for the distance runners – but coming in and stepping on the track with the jumpers and sprinters and throwers and having that momentum carry over.  Looking forward to the indoor championships and the outdoor season, we are hoping to do something special.  I guess learning to not put limits on ourselves is what we learned in cross country and to apply that to track has been exciting.”

Kevin Jackson - 3rd in the High Jump

On this third place finish at the Meyo Invitational:
“I think it went well.  There were a lot guys there who were at the top of their conference and near the top of the NCAA, so it was nice to get a chance to compete against them and compare my progress to theirs.”

On whether he feels he’s more of a power or finesse high jumper:
“I am just more of a power guy and I knew I could jump from the very beginning - but coming here (to Michigan State) I knew I had a lot of work to do.  My technique wasn’t good at all.  Working with coach (Chris Bostwick) and trusting him has allowed me to make progress.   Knowing what I need to do to get better and immersing myself in competition has helped me along the way.”

On how much he’s adjusted his technique since arriving at Michigan State:
“When I first got here, coach was just trying to get me comfortable.  He made it clear that with what I was doing from a technique standpoint, I wouldn’t jump much higher.  I needed to make changes and it was kind of a big adjustment.  Now, it’s just smaller and smaller adjustments and the doing little things that are going to make me better.”

On his potential and progress for the remainder of the season:
“I still have a lot in front of me and I have higher expectations for what I’m doing and so do the coaches.  They are on the same page with what I want to do and what is expected of me.  It’s pretty much parallel.  The competition at the Meyo Invitational was good and I’m trying to get to the same level as my competition and exceed those types of results.”

Josh McAlary - 4th in the 1000m

On racing the 800m and 1000m at the Meyo Invitational:
“It was difficult but I think it went well.  In the 1000m, I was dead last for the first 200 (meters) and it was hard to get moving in the very beginning.   In terms of race tactics, coach (Walt Drenth) would have liked me to be with the lead pack and I should have been in a better position from the gun.”

On gradually moving from shorter events to longer distance events during the indoor/outdoor track season:
“The past couple of years I’ve missed cross country due to injury.  As you get older you’re going to be put in the longer events just to see how well you run them and last season was sort of an experiment with running the steeplechase for the first time and running a couple 5K’s (5000m).  In terms of my best event, my coach thinks my best event is the 3K (3000m).  But not having a fall season, my lower base mileage has made me a 800m/1600m-type guy.  I still think I can run a fast mile, it’s just that in the last few years I’ve been playing catch up in the indoor season and trying to put it together in a solid distance event.”

On his versatility as a runner:
“A lot goes back to listening to our coach.  If he believes you can do it - you’ve got to believe him - and also believe in yourself.   I respect all distances.  A good 800m guy can run 200 meters in 22 seconds and I’m struggling to run it in 25.  Because of this, I think my race tactic bodes well for the 3K and 5K because I like starting out a little slower and working my way up.  I like to have my last laps be the fastest.”




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