Carolina's Hastings Talks About the Season and What's on the Horizon
March 29, 2007
Columbia, SC - USC will host the Weems Baskin Invitational on Sat., March 31 on the Carolina campus. More than 15 teams are expected to compete including USC, Virginia Tech, St. John's, Georgia Southern, College of Charleston and a number of others. USCsports.com sat down with junior Natasha Hastings (NH) this week to talk about the indoor season, the outdoor season and her future plans.
USC: What races are you competing in this weekend at home during the Weems Baskin Invitational?
NH: I have heard I am doing the 200m, the 4x100m relay and the 4x400m relay. My mom is coming and so I am excited. Track isn't really a sport that people pay attention to, but I do have some friends that are coming and it's home and everyone wants to put on a good show at home.
USC: You ran the world leader last weekend in your opening race outdoors in the 400m. How exciting is that?
NH: Yeah, for like a week. (laughs). It is cool to say I am the world leader right now, but I don't get too excited. It's only March. World Championships aren't until August and nationals are in June. It's exciting to see where I am, but I have to wait and see where I am in June and August.
USC: Does it motivate you?
NH: It does give me extra motivation because I have that mark on my back now. I was working to catch people and now they are working to run faster than me. Everyone is running to win the No. 1 spot.
USC: You set the collegiate record with your win in the 400m at the NCAA Indoor Championships last month. The former record was set by Sanya Richards in 2004 at 50.84. Where you surprised when you broke her record?
NH: A little bit of yes and no. I had the time written down - the 50.84 record - so I knew going into the race knowing how my season had gone I could dip into the 50 point range. I knew it was something I could do and then to see the tie on the clock was a shock. To see it and having done it was a 'wow!'
USC: What were you thinking about prior to the race?
NH: I visualized the race about a 100 times. I read a story in the bible and then I have this book that has motivational quotes. One I looked at was 'Limits begin where vision ends. Visualize success and give yourself permission to win'. My family was there, my high school coach, my teammates and I didn't want to let anyone down. I thought about my first two years here: the injuries and personal issues that I let consume me and I was grateful to be in the position to win the title. I really was and I tired to appreciate the moment.
USC: What was running through your mind when you were running the race?
NH: Oh my goodness, I felt so good. It was like the meet in New York City earlier in the year - I felt like I wasn't running on the track. I was so excited to run, felt so relaxed and in control. When I was coming to the finish like I was thinking 'Is this really happening and will I really win?'. At first the clock said 50.84 and then it went down to 50.80. I looked up in the stands and my mom was hugging some guy she didn't even know. It was overwhelming and it felt so good. Things my mom, my brother and I have gone thought - it was really special.
USC: What did it mean to break Sanya Richards record?
NH: It's very special. She was No. 1 in the world last year and also set the American record. To break her record was special. I think I see all the possibilities out there for me knowing I broke her college record and hopefully am following in her footsteps.
USC: USC also won the 4x400m relay that night. After only losing once this season - to LSU at SECs - was this a big deal for the young kids?
NH: That race we had battled with LSU the whole season. We knew it would be wire to wire. We were undefeated up to SEC where LSU beat us. We knew if we put on a good show we could win and we knew it would be a fight. We ran the finals with two freshmen, a senior and myself. A lot of people look at us say we are pretty young - but it was ok. Everyone went out there and put their heart on the line and at the end of the day you have to make the race with the four people you have. Everyone went out there and proved their point. I didn't win an NCAA title my freshman year (laughing) so it was really exciting to see the two freshmen faces after the race. Defiantly exciting.
USC: The current Olympic champion in the 400m, Tonique Williams-Darling, is a USC graduate and competed here as a collegiate. Have you ever met her and is it exciting to following in her footsteps.
NH: I met her here once for a minute. I look up to her certainly. I like the idea of following in her footsteps so I look up to her. Just knowing everything she has accomplished is so impressive.
What are your plans for outdoors?
NH: I want to run faster. 50.8 was an indoor and outdoor PR. I want to set the record outdoors as well - it's 50.1 (50.10, 2005, Monique Henderson, UCLA)- it's going to be the 10x the work. I also want us to win the team NCAA title and hopefully I can win the NCAA title individually.
Team goals? Is the goal to win the national title?
NH: I think a lot of people are counting us out, but we are so deep. It just takes one person to stop up to the line and do something. We have Ronnetta Alexander. Chiquita Martin. The freshmen of course. I know Shalonda Solomon is out right now, but she will be back. It will take everybody working together and everybody pulling their weight.
You are a member of the Honors College. How difficult is it to balance your class schedule with your running?
NH: It's hard because it's more challenging, but I need things other than track on my resume. I need something to do after track so I have to think about it as long term.
What are your future plans?
NH: I am going to finish my degree. It will take about 5 years. I might also work on a degree in broadcast and media relations. I will be here training with coach Frye after I finish my first degree. I want to be a chiropractor. I want to go to the trials next year and hopefully make the Olympics team. Wherever God takes me. I want to continue running after college - I want to run until I a 30. My dreams would be to be an Olympic gold medalist, be a chiropractic doctor, and maybe announce the NCAA Championships someday on ESPN. Hopefully by then we can get it on ESPN and not ESPN2! I would like to see the sport become more popular in America. It's so big overseas, but they just don't appreciate it here.
Do you have a special message for Gamecock fans:
NH: Keep cheering for us and keep us in your prayers. We are working hard to bring home another championship. We are on a mission this year!
March 31, 2007
Schedule of Events
Please note the Time Schedule will be adjusted the day of the meet to better reflect the number of entries.