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Day Two Quotes - USATF Indoor Championships


Felisha Johnson, Women’s Weight Throw winner
On competing today
“It was fun. I’ve been fourth the past couple years, so moving to first was huge, and competing today was really nice. I just have to relax because I had a foul in the beginning, so I just had to calm down and relax in the competition. It worked out pretty good.”
On winning her first USATF Indoor Championship
“It feels good. Now I guess I have three (championships), including college. It’s the first time indoors in the weight, so it’s not too bad since I don’t throw hammer outdoors. It’s good for a shot putter.”
Jeneva Stevens, Women’s Weight Throw second place
“I always stayed focused. The main goal was not getting emotional because then you start throwing erratically and then you can possibly hurt yourself or even do worse than you have been. It was about keeping my cool, staying focussed and trying every time. But it seemed like each throw wasn’t good enough. The scary part was when I reached a throw that was good enough, but it wasn’t far enough by two centimeters. It was like, ‘how do you come back from that?’ Do I need to do something different. The worst thing you can do is something different. You have to stay consistent and I did, so it’s fine.”
Nick Christie, 2 Mile Race Walk winner
On becoming a USATF Indoor Champion
“It means a lot. My coach Tim (Seaman) won this race last year, and I wanted to try to keep it in the family. I’m super stoked for that. It’s my first national championship, I couldn’t be more happy right now.”
John Nunn, 2 Mile Race Walk second place
“This was fun. Indoors really isn’t our thing per se. It’s seven times shorter than we normally walk, so it’s fun to work on speed and see where I’m sitting at for now. I probably should have taken off a couple laps earlier in the race, but unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way. I’m just not used to this type of racing. It was fun. Nick walked a great race and had a solid performance. I’m pleased. The big focus now is hitting a 20K standard and qualifying for the 50K at World Champs.We’ll focus on trying to get the 20K for now.”
Jeremy Taiwo, heptathlon champion
On winning a USATF Indoor Championships title
“It feels great! I came here and just wanted to get through it again, and do what I was supposed to do and it happened. It was good to finish a heptathlon and still feel healthy.”
On highlights from Day Two
“There was a little bit later start, so I think I acclimated a little more last night. In the 60 hurdles, I went out and finally was under eight seconds, which is where I should be. So I was really happy about that. That kind of rolled into the vault - I was happy to get some different heights. We backed it back to a seven-step last week, so I wasn’t really that well into it but we did alright. And in the 1,000, I just wanted to take it out with Tom FitzSimmons and Tom Hopkins, and those are awesome guys to run with so I was just happy to finish fast.”
Austin Bahner, heptathlon second place
On Day Two performance and second place overall
“I knew that there were a couple guys ahead of me and a few behind that could make up points today, so I just needed to stay strong, have a good hurdle race and start out well. Pole vault is a stronger event for me, so I was hoping to get a good height and ended up PR’ing, so it was good for me. In the 1,000, I knew that I needed a good finish.”
On competing at USATF Indoor Championships
“I struggled the first day. Everything was pretty average across the board. I had a decent long jump. I’m not feeling 100 percent, so I was happy with that. And in my long jump, I’ve always struggled with that, but I ended up having a good event there. Pole vault was my best by far with the PR, and it all went well.”
Men’s 1,000m - Heats
Robby Andrews, Heat 1 winner
On qualifying for the 1,000m final
“The goal was to qualify. We did that. It felt good. I love the 1,000, it’s my favorite event, and I was just really glad to compete here today. The final is any man’s race, but I’m feeling good.”
Thomas Scott, Heat 2 winner
“First of all, just being here is absolutely amazing. Not many people get that opportunity, so being here I am very fortunate and very blessed to be here. I heard that going into my heat, the first heat went out really fast, so I knew that we were on a slow pace.”
Erik Kynard, men’s high jump winner
On winning the USATF Indoor Championship
“It was good. I was a little disappointed. I got a miss early at 2.31m/(7-7), and I wanted to go through the competition cleanly until I went out. Like I said, it’s my first competition, so I’m kind of getting the kinks out, but I think it went well. I think I was very competitive. I would have liked to jump higher, but it will come.”
On his first competition of the season
“I’ve done a track meet, but it was like an open meet that all the guys out of college were doing, so this is like the first time I’ve competed. It was good. I’m kind of here without a coach right now; he’s at a conference meet with Kansas State. Go Wildcats. I'm just out here winging it today.”
On attempting the American Record
“I knew I would. There was no question in my mind. I was just disappointed that I missed at 2.31m/(7-7). I think it’s very important to be clean all the way through, but I was able to reset and come back at 2.34m/(7-8), and get out in first. I’d like to take that American record down. Like I’ve said a few times, my goal is to jump high and compete at a high level.”
Will Claye, men’s long jump winner
On his overall performance and another USATF title
“It was a win, but I wish I would have jumped a bit better. Just based on how I feel throughout my training, I was hoping for better numbers. I’ve really been training through indoors, so this is really going to set me up well for outdoors. I’m building a good base so that I can last all the way up until September, since I know it’s going to be a long season.”
Ted Hooper, men’s long jump second place
On finishing second at USATF Indoor Championships
“This year is my first year out of college, so it’s a new experience for me. I think to come out here and finish second for my first year out of college is a great thing for me.”
On competing against a field with a two-time Olympic medalist
“Just to go up against that group of guys, I know they’re at the highest level. It just humbles me a bit to see what they’ve done, especially Will Claye, who is an Olympian. It boosted my confidence a bit, and I hope I can get to that level.”
Funmi Jimoh, women’s long jump winner
“The jumps were definitely interesting. It was a really fast runway and I was a bit fatigued; I just got back into the country. They weren’t the distances I preferred but I got the win, so I’m satisfied.”
“I feel very happy about it. I’ve been jumping for a long time and I’ve never had a championship. I’ve been bronze many, many times and a national title just makes me really happy. I really do wish I had jumped a little bit better but I had a really good season and I’m really proud of myself.”
Christian Cantwell, men’s shot put winner
“The field wasn’t what we’re used to. There were a lot of good, young kids, but obviously without one or two of the top collegiates and Reese (Hoffa) and Ryan (Whiting) it was a little hair down. But I was prepared. I’m satisfied with my result - not super thrilled with the distance. But there’s a difference. You can be satisfied without being thrilled.”         
Women’s 600m Heats
Mckayla Fricker, Women’s 600, Heat 1 winner
On race strategy
“When I found out I made it to the (USATF Indoor) Championships, I was ecstatic. So excited to come and get the experience here. Racing the 600, so it was not my normal 800, I was excited to try something different. Going into this heat with four heats and only six going through, I knew it was going to be fast. Each heat was going to run hard, so I was just ready to go and just kick. I was glad there was something left in me to get the win. I had to run like it was the finals today, so that’s what I’ve got to do tomorrow.”
Alysia Montano, Women’s 600, Heat 2 winner
On competing again after having a baby nine months ago
“I could not wait for this environment to do something when I am not holding an eight-pound baby in the process. I am so happy to be here. I love my track fans, and I just love the environment. It was so important for me to have my daughter see that, and that’s why we brought her here to Nationals.
On how her legs feel
Good! I couldn’t wait to take them for a spin. We were thinking we weren’t going to do Indoors. But when I heard we weren’t going to do but I was thinking, ‘Dude, I’m feeling good. We’re ready to go. We ran a 400 two weeks ago and then the three, so I was ready to be there. I feel like I ran the same time. I ran the 400 around this time last year, so I think that I’m ready to roll.
On running during a pregnancy increasing a good return
I think anyone who trains during her pregnancy is going to stay fit and come back six months later and feel so much better rather than anyone who doesn't exercise for six months to nine months”
On what winning a title would mean
 “Honestly, I just wanted to be in this environment again, see where I’m at and just experience that thrill of putting your best foot forward and showing that to my daughter. Its about the experience. Win, lose or draw, of course I just want to win. But it’s worth getting myself back out there.”
Ajee Wilson, Women’s 600m, Heat 3 winner
On race strategy
“My coach just told me to get to the front and just run, so that’s what I did. It’s not the 800, but to be able to win a championship tomorrow would be awesome.”     
On Alysia Montano returning to a national championship event
I’m definitely excited that she’s (Alysia Montano) back. Seeing what she did last year at (USATF) Outdoors, you can just tell that she’s loving the sport. She’s a fierce competitor.”
Bethany Praska, Women’s 600m, Heat 4 winner
On winning her heat
“It was a great race and you never know what to expect in qualifying. Part of my kind of wanted to focus on what the other heats were running. Then it gets to the point where you just kind of have to focus on yourself. Whatever happens, happens. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Natasha Hastings, Women’s 300m winner
On winning the USATF Indoor Championship
“It’s been an awesome I would say three weeks. I competed here three weeks ago at the New Balance Invitational. I placed second there, and then I ran 36.8, which was a PB. My plan was to get through the first round healthy, get in there safely and comfortably, which I did. Jessica (Beard) ran an awesome prelim as well. Going into the final, I knew that she was going to be right there with me. I went in with my same race plan. Get out hard, finish strong, and I came out with the win today.”
On momentum heading into the outdoor season
“I think anytime you PR in something it’s a good sign for the season. The goal is still my 400, but this is just an awesome way to train through it.”
Shannon Rowbury, Women’s 1 Mile winner
On the strategy of the race
“I figured it would go out slow, but you never know. My assumption was to go out slow and then I would work the second half. I was a little surprised at how hard they made me work at 400 to take the lead. But I figured even if I’m running a good 200 with 600 hundred to go,  I could run a good 400, then 600 and keep building. Just tried to stay patient and keep going after it and have a better finish than my last couple races.
On winning a USATF Championships after a strong indoor season
Two races ago, I died the last 30 (meters). The last race, I was second, so I just wanted to improve.      

Katherine Mackey, Women’s 1 Mile second place
On the last 200 meters of the race
“In the last 200 I was just thinking, ‘Move! Move! Move! Short strides and chest up,’  all the same cues that I say to myself everytime I do a hard workout in practice.  Practice was hard and my workouts were exactly what I needed for this race. I think I am getting older and getting more comfortable with racing on the indoor track. I’m getting more comfortable with championship races. I’ve really just been working hard and it felt great.”
On USATF Cross Country Championships serving as preparation for USATF Indoor Championships
“Up until (USATF) Cross Country Championships, I was only really doing 8k stuff - long tempo runs. The last couple weeks, we’ve done some quick sprint stuff just to kind of sharpen up. I’ve really been working hard, and I felt more comfortable with things. it’s amazing what a couple weeks of that can do. My first workout a couple weeks ago was the pain train. It hurt so bad that I was so sore, but today I felt strong.”
Brycen Spratling, Men’s 600m prelim leader
On posting the leading time heading into the final
“I don’t usually run 600, but my plan was just to pace off the 800 meter guys and see if I outkick them at the end, and it worked out. I’m happy about it.I feel really strong. I was definitely really confident going into the race, and it paid off. My training is where it needs to be, so it paid off.”
Manteo Mitchell, 300m winner
On tactics of an A and B final
“It’s kind of tough not knowing what someone ran before you, but then I came out and it was up on the board. I knew that if I could run that and I eased up in the prelims, I should be able to run that. I went out there and just left it all out there for the win.”
Clayton Parros, 300m second place
On advancing out of the prelims and preparing for the final
“The heat felt good. I took a little bit of a weird step coming around the home stretch in the prelim. I was happy I was able to get in. I probably could have run a little faster, but I was happy to get in the final.”
On finishing in second place overall
“Final-wise, I felt like it was a good run. I probably left him a little too much room in the first 200. I should have come up on him a bit more because I knew I could kick like that. I just couldn’t catch him in time. Second place, I’m happy with it. Would have like to win, but you learn from it and move on.”
Ryan Hill, Men’s 2-Mile winner
On winning his first national title on the track
“It’s my first legitimate [USATF title]. I won club cross, I won a Junior Olympics once but this is the first that felt right. I put a lot of hard work in with my teammates, some of the guys I somehow beat today. We all wanted it bad but I was able to pull it out in the end.”
On race tactics
“Today, I was ultra-sensitive to anyone taking the lead hard. Sometimes I’ve made mistakes and I’ve paid for it at the end and can’t kick. Even if it meant running in lane 2 or outside lane 1, I always stayed with the leader. Fortunately, that’s how I won the race.”
On when he knew he had it
“You never know you have it until you go and you feel like you’re going all out and you have some left. I was able to peek over my shoulder and saw I had a little gap. I saw it was ready for the taking.”
Ben Blankenship, Men’s 2-Mile second place
On his tactics
“I’m really disappointed. The way it worked out, I don’t think I played my cards the best. I just need to take races one at a time and get ready for tomorrow’s race. I just don’t think I finished well.”

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