Women's Track Preview: Big Ten Outdoor Championships
May 11, 2006
The Michigan State men's and women's track and field teams will join forces with the Big Ten to host the 2006 Outdoor Championships at the Ralph Young Track and Field Complex on May 12-14. Here's a preview of some of MSU's top athletes on the women's team who will be competing at the championships.
Senior Taren James - Jumps
James has paced the Spartans in both the long jump and triple jump this season. James boasts Michigan State's top-three individual performances in each event, netting herself a pair of NCAA Regional invitations.
James leapt 19-8 1/2 at the Stanford Invitational March 31 to surpass the NCAA Regional mark in the long jump, then added a triple-jump effort of 42-0 3/4 in front of the home crowd at the 2006 Spartan Invitational April 15 to easily qualify for regional competition. She ranks third in the Big Ten in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump.
The women's long jump is set for Saturday at 4:35 p.m., while the triple jump is Sunday at 11:40 a.m.
You have qualified regionally in two events. What have been the keys to your success this season?
"The keys have really been to believe in the training I am doing and making a commitment to myself to be great instead of average. I try to take every practice as serious as a competition - each time I get on the runway, each time I get on the track, each time land in the sand, just working on execution. Coach (Randy) Huntington keeps me level-headed. He puts into perspective what I have accomplished and what I can accomplish."
Is there a difference in competing at your home track?
"It's not everyday that you get to look into the stands and see familiar faces, especially in track, where you travel a lot. I am excited to have a true `home court' advantage. It's going to be nice to have my own turf under my spikes."
Sophomore Etienne Chaplin - Heptathlon
Chaplin provisionally qualified for regional competition in the heptathlon with a score of 5,050 points at the Hillsdale Relays in late April. The heptathlon begins Friday afternoon with the 100-meter hurdles at 12:15 p.m.
You are unique on the team since you participate in the heptathlon, which features seven different events. What's your mindset heading into competition?
"I try to focus on one event at a time. You try to go into the first event and execute and after that, go on and focus on the next event. There are some events I know I am stronger at, so if one of the others doesn't go as well, I know I can make it up there."
Sophomore Nicole Bush - Distance
Heading into the conference championships, Bush leads all Spartans with three NCAA Regional qualifying marks (1,500 meters, 5,000 meters, 3,000-meter steeplechase). She has been especially successful in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, which she just started competing in less than a month ago. Bush's time of 10:21.97 at the Hillsdale Relays was the second-fastest in the Big Ten, and one of the 10-fastest times in the nation this season. The women's 3,000-meter steeplechase begins Saturday night at 6:45 p.m.
What has been the key to your success in the 3,000-meter steeplechase? You just started running the event less than a month ago.
"I try not to think about it too much. It was a little awkward at first, because I have doing events for so many years that doesn't involve jumping over things, but I've gotten used to it. You just have to manage yourself. The steeple is the only event I will be doing at regionals."
Head Coach Angela Goodman:
What are your goals for the team this weekend?
"It's the Big Ten Championships, so you always want to come out and put your best foot forward. I think we have some individuals that are in a position to do well and contend for titles. We are looking for people to really get out and compete, and to put themselves in a position where they can score and make an impact for the team. I think leading up to this meet we have really seen athletes starting to step it up."
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