Carolina's Natasha Hastings prepares for NCAA East Region Championships
May 23, 2007
South Carolina's track teams qualified 12 women in 10 events plus its two relays (4x1, 4x4) and the men have qualified 10 men in eight events + its two relays for the NCAA East Region Championships May 25-26 in Gainesville, Fla. The top five in each event advance to the NCAA Championships June 6-9 in Sacramento, Calif.
The women are looking to win their third straight East Region title and the men were a program-high third last year. The women are currently ranked No. 3 nationally and the men No. 24.
USCsports.com sat down with a number of the athletes competing at the meet this week. The following is a chat Dan Sweeney had with NCAA Indoor champion Natasha Hastings (NH) when they talked about the NCAA East Region Championship.
USC: This weekend you are headed to NCAA Region Championship and you need to finish top five in your event to advance. What have you done since your win at the SEC Championship to prepare?
NH: Coach Frye and I haven't really changed anything. What I've done so far has brought me success and has kept me on top where I need to be, so I haven't really changed what I've been doing. I've just been training hard and staying focused.
USC: What was your favorite moment from SEC competition?
NH: Probably last year when my mom surprised me and showed up for the SEC Outdoor Championship. My mom's been most of all of my big meets, but for whatever reason we thought she wasn't going to make it to the SEC's last year. Someone knocked on my door in my hotel room and I opened the door and it was my mom.
USC: You've been on the Dean's list, how do you balance school with competition?
NH: It's hard. The big thing is time management. I try to get a lot of my work done in the mornings. I try to read in between class and before I go to bed. It is hard but I get it all done.
USC: Do you have any superstitions?
NH: I try to read a scripture out of the Bible and I also have another book that I try to take encouraging quotes from. I also listen to my music and get hyped.
USC: What do you listen to before competition?
NH: Lil' Jon, T-Pain, R Kelly, Kelly Rowland.
USC: What events are you competing in?
NH: The 400m, 200m and the 4x100m relay.
USC: What are your goals for Regionals?
NH: Of course I want to try to win. I'm hoping to lower my time to 50 point low by the end of the season. I really want to run a 49. I'm also running in the 200m, and last week I ran a personal best at 22.78, so if I can get down to a 22.5 I'd be really excited.
USC: What sports did you play growing up?
NH: I started running when I was nine so this is all I've been doing all my life. Both of my parents ran throughout their childhood, in high school and college as well. I guess you could say I got my start when my dad volunteered to coach at his alma mater. I used to go out there with him and just run around, thinking I was doing something when I was just playing around. When I was nine my mom took me a track meet and my club coach picked me up from there.
USC: What is the best lesson you've learned in life?
NH: Probably patience. My first two years here I was plagued by injuries and had to sit back and wait my turn. I had to go through with whatever God was putting me through and try to figure out whatever message God was trying to give me.
USC: What do you want Gamecock fans to know about you?
NH: That I'm just an ordinary girl and I work hard. I am an athlete and I do take pride in what I do. When I go out there just know that I want to represent Carolina to the fullest. I want to put Carolina in a positive light and not bring any shame to the school. I'm your ordinary girl and I'm just trying to make everyone proud.
USC: Is there anything people would be surprised to know about your athletically?
NH: I come from a family of athletes. I have a cousin that played professional soccer in England. Both my parents and my grandmother ran.
USC: What do you like to do in your free time?
NH: Listen to music. I have a nine-year-old brother. He and I are pretty close, so I love to spend as much time with him as I can. I like to read for leisure and pleasure as well. Once I got done with finals this semester I reread the last Harry Potter book. I finished it in like two days because I was so excited I could read a book just for the sake of reading."