May 30, 2003
Quotes from NCAA East Regional
Head Coach Curtis Frye
We’re surviving things right now. We’ve had some good things happen and some bad. We’ve got some people that are in the finals tomorrow. The positive aspects of today are Jonathan Fortenberry and Otis Harris made the finals in the 400m dash. All three women made the finals in the long jump and they’re vying for a spot at nationals. We’re pleased – we’ve had some good things happen today.
The new format is a little controversial. I fought this new format for 15 years, but it’s what we have right now. That’s what I have to deal with. Once I lose in a system, I do everything possible to make it work and we’re doing everything we can to make this the best situation possible. It’s going to be a great championship, we’re going to advance a lot of people and we’re going to take our best shot at nationals.
This is a learning process for us, as it is for a lot of people. We now have to deal with a new meet and that can produce new injuries. We’re learning how to handle that. As time goes, we will learn the best way to handle all of this.
The competition is stiff as usual, but you just have to go out there and do well. Coach Frye told us to just think of this as the SEC Championships and to think of our competition like that.
The finals are the most important part because that’s what qualifies us for nationals. My focus is now on winning the finals races tomorrow.
I think that the 400m hurdles heat was possibly my best race of the season. I was confident and I started out strong. I also finished strong. I felt smooth going over the hurdles – I’ve been having that problem of getting my right leg over the hurdle smooth. Everything was smooth this race.
Today I was just trying to run through the heat. In the 110m hurdles, the heat winners make the finals so I just did my best to win the heat and not worry about any times. Basically, I had to focus my concentration on the heat, getting up out of the blocks well, and winning the heat.
In the 4x100m relay, we will have to run through the zone and have great handoffs to win. I think that’s the key that we’ve been missing on all year. We’ve always had the speed but the handoffs need improving on.
It’s pretty hard to compete here after not competing a full year (due to injury). When you aren’t on the track all the time, it’s easy to lose focus.
The competition here is pretty even – everybody is fast and everybody is trying to win.
We just try and give it our all.
Last year at NCAA’s you wore your uniform backwards for luck in the 4x400m relay. Do you think you will have to do that this year? Well, I might have to do it this year in the 400m dash, but I don’t think I’ll need to do it in the 4x400m relay. I think our relay team is the best in the nation by far.
This morning you had your warm-up jacket on inside out. Any reason for that? (Laughing) Well, I didn’t know I had it on inside out at first, but just went with it. But I seemed to do well so I may have to wear it inside out for the finals.
I felt good. I was a little unnerved with everybody having to run for times to advance. Usually, you just have win your heat. Winning my heat doesn’t make me automatically advance to the finals, but I think I did pretty well. Running out here in this heat, it’s been a blessing with all of these great athletes here. I’m going to do everything I can to win in the finals tomorrow.
Will it take another school record to win in the finals tomorrow? Maybe. It may take a school record, it may take a personal record. Whatever it takes, I’m going to do my best to win in the finals.
Do you believe in luck as a factor like Jon Fortenberry does? No, I’m not superstitious. I believe that hard work, taking advantage of what opportunities you have help you succeed.
I just did what I had to do to get to the finals. Today wasn’t the best, but tomorrow should be better.
On the new Regional format: It’s good. However, I still like the old system. It’s easier and puts less stress on the athletes.
The bar is definitely higher here. I have to run the times I ran at the SEC Championships or faster so that I can advance to the NCAA Championships. I’m just trying to make it to the finals today.
I felt pretty good today. I had a terrible start, but I did well after that. In the 4x100m relay, we did pretty well for the preliminaries. We were just trying to get the stick around the track and get to the finals.
I’m in the finals of the 400m dash and the 400m hurdles. The 400m dash is one of my favorite events. I try to train hard to make my 400m dash time improve. Then I work on my 400m hurdles time. The training with my 400m dash helps with my training in the 400m hurdles. I’m pretty pleased with my times today. I look forward to coming out here tomorrow and doing the best I can in both events.
It’s tough running both events in the same day. I did the same thing at the SEC Championships, but I knew then that I would have to do it here so it helped me train harder and be more prepared for it.