Gamecocks' Hastings ready for NCAA Championships
June 5, 2007
South Carolina qualified nine men and women plus three relays (women's 4x100m, women's 4x40m and men's 4x400m relays) for the NCAA Track and Field Championships June 6-9 in Sacramento, Calif. The Gamecock women are gunning for their 12th straight top 10 finish. The USC women are one of just three programs to have finished in the top 10 the past 11 years straight with Texas' women and Arkansas' men joining with the Gamecocks women in this accomplishment.
The meet will be shown live on CBS on Sat., June 9 from 1 - 3 pm EST.
The Gamecock team, who arrived in Sacramento late Sunday night, has spent the last two days practicing. Monday afternoon the team spent time bonding, playing games with each other including cards, Scrabble and a number of other board games.
Uscsports.com visited with NCAA indoor national champion Natasha Hastings prior to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Sacramento where she talked about getting ready for the meet and even what it's like running against American record holder Sanya Richards. Hastings spent part of Tuesday afternoon at the NCAA pre-Championship press conference with two of the top female athletes at the meet - Arizona State's Sarah Stevens and LSU's Jessica Ohahaia.
USC: With NCAA Championships this week, are you doing anything different to prepare for them than you did in preparation for Nationals?
NH: No, it's pretty much the same thing. I try to think of it as just another track meet. What I have been doing so far has brought me success, so I will continue doing what I'm doing. Nothing new.
USC: You broke American record holder Sanya Richards' collegiate record indoors at the NCAA Championships. What is it like running against her?
NH: I first ran against her when I was 12 years old. We have run against each other several times, including last year. In high school it seemed like every-time I ran against her she was setting a record. She is very good.
USC: You won the NCAA East Region title two weeks ago - running a time of 50.23. What was going through your head when you found out that not only had you established a new personal best in the 400m, but had set a school record, a UF facility record and clocked the fastest time in the world this year?
NH: People ask that question, but I don't know. I guess there is so much rushing through you that's there is really no way to explain the feeling. I was just really excited and happy for my performance, but I really honestly can't explain how I felt. It's an amazing feeling.
USC: What accomplishment are you most proud of after your amazing performance last weekend?
NH: I don't know, that's kind of hard to say because I had a personal best in both the 400m and the 200m. I would say probably the 200m because it was 45 minutes after my 400m. I wasn't expecting to go that fast or win. That was a shock for me.
USC: You are one of four nominees for the prestigious Honda Award for Track and Field. How does it feel to be nominated for the Honda Sports Award?
NH: I don't know, do I get a Honda? [laughs]. It's an honor. I know two of the other girls that are being nominated. Just to be honored with other athletes of that caliber and to be honored on a national scale is an honor. So I'm excited about that, as well.
USC: Is there one event that you are most looking forward to competing in next week?
NH: The 400m of course. Maybe the 4X4--I'm definitely looking forward to that because it's something we can do together as a team. We call it the Grand Finale of the track meet. Everybody's up on their feet watching that and that's, you know, THE show. I'm excited. We are going in with the fastest time in the nation--we're undefeated so far. It will be exciting to see how that turns out.
I hope Gamecock fans will follow the whole meet. It's great! I can't wait!