An Anderson, SC product and 3-time All-American, Chiquita Martin talks how fast it all went
May 1, 2007
Your college career goes by sooo fast! Just ask the Gamecocks' Chiquita Martin. With just three track meets left in her college career the senior from Anderson, S.C., who attended Westside High School in the Upstate, is preparing for the SEC, NCAA Regional and NCAA Championships in the next month and a half. Martin, a Retailing major who will graduate in the Fall of 2007, sat down with uscsports.com to reflect on her career as a Gamecock.
USC: Last weekend South Carolina had a break-out meet at Penn Relays. You were part of two outstanding relay wins with the Shuttle Hurdle Relay running the eighth fastest time in collegiate history (53.54) and the 4x200 winning with the 10th fastest time in collegiate history (1:31.56).
CM: "I was happier with the hurdles because that was my event. We won my sophomore year and we felt like we should win the race this year. Ronnetta (Alexander) and I both believed we should win that race before we left at Penn Relays this year - it was our goal together. In the 4x200 it was only my second time running that event so I was really excited about that. Both of them made me happy because it made everyone else happy."
USC: When you went up there last Wednesday, did you think that you'd come back with two wins?
CM: "Actually, I thought I would come home with three - I thought we'd win the 4x100m relay as well. I had my mind set that we would win all three events. I was happy with two, but I wanted three."
USC: What is it like running the lead-off leg at the Penn Relays in the 4x100m and the 4x200m relays?
CM: "I was nervous because it was the first time I ran the first leg. Prior to that I was running the third leg and before that the fourth leg. People in the crowd try to talk to you before you run. They call your name and try to get your attention. It's all rushed, the whole meet is. You don't have time to set your blocks. You have to get out there, set up and get ready. It was different, but I liked it. There was so many people there and I loved that."
USC: What was it like Saturday when you ran in front of 45,000-50,000 people?
CM: "I was nervous. I was more nervous before the 4x200 than before the 4x100 because there were just so many people. I didn't know that Shalonda caught her at the end of the 4x2 because it was so close I thought the other runner (from LSU) crossed the finish line before Shalonda caught her. I was so happy when she started jumping up and down."
USC: Growing up in South Carolina was it your dream to always be a Gamecock?
CM: "I thought seriously about Clemson, but South Carolina had a good business school and had just won the national championship (2002). That's when I decided to come to South Carolina and I haven't looked back."
USC: You've been an All-American, you've been to Nationals, and you've been a part of a really good team. What would you tell girls coming up in high school about running track and field at South Carolina? Do you feel like a mentor or someone others can look up to?
CM: "I do because when I go home for the break a lot of the high school girls they like to talk to me about what I do. I guess they just like to see how life is at my age and being at USC. I just think that everyone should take his or her time and not rush it into a decision. I'm a senior and I don't have but three more track meets left and it seems like yesterday when I graduated high school."
USC: Did you even dream that coming to USC, after they had won the national championship, that you'd be one of the greatest one ever there being that you're a three-time All-American and receiving all the accolades that you have?
CM: "I don't know. Then I had bigger dreams and some of them didn't come true. I knew that by coming here you'd be expected to do a lot and you're being held on a higher pedestal than you would be at most schools. I have really liked the whole experience of being on the track team. I've enjoyed everything and everyone; the people I came in with and the class of '03, '04 and everyone who came later. I've just really enjoyed my time here."
USC: You've qualified for the NCAA Regional individually in the 100m Hurdles and the 400m Hurdles. What is your strongest event? You have PRs in the 100m hurdles of 13.28 and the 400m hurdles of 58.33.
CM: "Right now it's the 100m hurdles. I have PR'd a lot this year. Last yeah I didn't PR until the SEC's, but this year I started running fast in the second meet."
USC: What do you attribute to running so fast in the 100m Hurdles this year? What about the 400m Hurdles?
CM: "I don't know. I guess I just started thinking about it more this year when running the 100m hurdles. As far as the 400m hurdles I have put a lot thought into it, but I need to do some more work on it. I'll think I'll get it by SEC's and get a top time."
USC: Is it hard to run both?
CM: "No, because that's what I've always done. I ran both at nationals last year so I'll shoot to do it again this year." The 100m hurdles are a little more strenuous because it's a sprint. It makes you hurt in places that usually don't. The 400m Hurdles makes you tired, but it doesn't hurt as much. I'm used to both of them though and I like both of them about equal."
USC: You describe yourself as a happy person. What's made you happy on the track this past year?
CM: "This indoor season when the 4x400m relay won nationals I was really happy for them. We were the underdog at Penn Relays last year, considering that my sophomore year we won everything. This year at Penn I was proud of everyone because we were able to put out name back out there. We really competed."
USC: What do you predict is going to happen in the coming months with this team?
CM: "I think we have a chance to be in the top three, like last year, at the NCAA Championship. I think that everybody will put in a little more effort because it is a championship season, everyone wants those awards and wants their name out there. We want to win, so I think we will win."
USC: What do you want Gamecock fans to know about Chiquita Martin?
CM: "That I'm a happy person, I work hard and that I will continue to work hard because I want to end my senior season with great things so look out!"