May 23, 2017
I saw my mom in the stands. I just knew I had it.
Before the race, I was sweating bullets. I talked to Frenchie (assistant coach Hadrien Choukroun), and he told me, `you've been here for five years and nobody has more SEC experience in this race than you. You can do it.' So I said, `alright, let's go!'
(Head) Coach (Curtis) Frye was there as soon as I walked on to the track. He just said 'relax.' He's usually a talker, but I didn't need any more than that.
Last year I finished seventh at Outdoors for SECs. I had taken some time off because I had a little `ding' with my ankle. So I wasn't as prepared as I was this year.
I walked out to the track, and the first thing I noticed was that I could hear everything. I could hear my teammates. Sometimes it's a blur, and you block everything out. This time, I heard every voice distinctly. A lot of the alumni were here, so a lot of the people I looked up to when I first got into college were there to support me, which was amazing.
I got up to the blocks. The starter held us a little long. I was hoping I wasn't going to false start.
We got out, and I rushed to the first hurdle. I rushed over the second. In prelims, I had over-rotated going through the first two, but this time it was so fluid. By the time I was over three, I could tell I was winning.
I went through 200 faster than I had ever gone. I got to 250 meters and the girl to my right started to buckle a little bit. I got a little confidence from that because I didn't feel fatigued there.
By 300, I said `I want this.'
I had a little trouble going over the last hurdle, but I ran through. I saw my mom in the stands. I just knew I had it.
When I crossed the line, I threw up `the Spur' because it was great to be a Gamecock!
It was the first time my mom had been there to see me run since I was a freshman. To have her there in-person was amazing. To have the support of the team and the community there was really something. We have the best facility in the nation, so to bring one home at home was pretty sick!
I let my mom hold on to my medal for now. I'll take it back later. I plan on having a nice corner office in a building somewhere in the future, so I'll put it on my desk then.
To stand on the podium as an SEC Champion was one of my biggest crowning moments in college. It's amazing to be part of a conference that has so much talent.
Winning SECs is awesome, but it's behind me now. It's a nice jumping off point heading into regionals and then nationals after that. That's the ultimate goal.
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