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Drake Relays Athlete Quotes

Saturday, April 25, 2009 - Quotes

Alan Webb, winner, invitational mile, 4:00.61. Set Drake Relays record (3.51.71) in 2007. American record holder. Three time U.S. outdoor champion in 1500

On his time
``I think everybody wanted to go a little bit faster. It was chilly, cold, windy, just ended being one of those days where competing was the goal, just trying to win the race. This is sort of my weakness sometimes, start expecting something and having it be totally not what I expect and still do well. That's why I'm definitely pleased with this. I think I have not done well in these circumstances in the past, so it's definitely a  positive step, even I would have liked to run a little faster.''

On the race
``I tried to have a preemptive strike. I was out in front and I wanted to not let anybody catch me off guard. I wanted to make my own move without anybody coming up on me. It worked out.''

He rubbed his arms after finishing as if shivering and mouthed, ``It's cold.''
``I was kind of just joking around and everybody was looking at me. That's definitely one of the draws to Drake, the people are watching each race intently to be able to pick up on some small little gesture like that.''

Generally slow pace in the race
``We kind of got off on a slow rhythm and couldn't get it going. Even the first 200, I could kind of  tell, ah, we're only 29 (seconds), it's not going to be super fast. But I still crossed the finish line first.''

On maturing mentally as a runner
``Today was such a victory. I think in the past I might have got caught up in oh my gosh, I ran 3:51 here two years ago. Am I going to do that again? Just taking a step back and what is my goal and where does this fit into my season. This is only my second race outdoors. It's a big meet, you want to run well, just do the best you can and feel like I did that. And when you do that good comes from that. This race was much more competitive in terms of the depth of it than it was two years ago. It still was a great race. It's just sort of reminding yourself, hey, this is what it is, it's a big meet, but it's also early. I'm still learning that.''

Jeremy Wariner, winner, men's invitational 400, 45.06. Won the race by more than a full second. Three Olympic gold medals, one silver. No. 1 in world in 400 from 2004-07.

On the weather
"It was cold, but I've run in worse weather than this. Two years ago I ran in Poland, it was probably about 44 degrees with cold rain. It was colder than this to me. It's my first 400. I wanted to go under 45. Came real close, but I was happy with the way I ran. I got out fine and from the 200 to the finish I worked hard. So I was impressed with the way I ran today."
On what he looks for early in the season
``Early my main goal is to work on things, get ready, gear up and as the season goes on I get out of that role and start going for the wins. I want to go out there and work on things, but at the same time, I do want to win. I don't want to go out there and get second. But my main thing is to go out there and work on some things like it's practice."

Easing up at the end
``If I did slow down, it wasn't on purpose. With the cold weather, my legs were getting tight toward the end. I didn't want to pull anything this early in the season. I might have taken it a little easy down the home stretch, but I was really impressed with the way I ran today.''

On returning to Drake after going to Penn
``Last year I went to Penn Relays just to see what it was like. I kind of missed Drake. I wanted to come back this year and run for the fans. The fans here are always supportive of every athlete no matter who they are. They really get into the meet.''

Perdita Felicien, unattached, third women's invitational 100 hurdles, 12.88. Five-time Drake Relays individual winner. Two-time world champion. 2004 Olympian from Canadian. Ran on world-record setting shuttle hurdle relay for Illinois at Drake Relays in 2001.

On Lolo Jones' stopping late in the race
``I guess outside maybe the pole vault, it's probably one of the most treacherous races in track and field. You're at the mercy of the conditions and then you're obviously at the mercy of the woman beside you. Someone hits you with their arm, knocks the hurdle into your lane, you're done with your race as well.''

How has Lolo Jones handled her Beijing disappointment
``Needless to say she's handled it extremely well. I was part of the media in Beijing covering the Olympics and when I saw it happen, the way she handled it was just her true self. We've competed against each other for years and years. We're competitive first and foremost, but from a distance she's just a great person. A lot of people in that situation wouldn't have shown the same grace she did that day.''

How does this help winner Tiffany Ofili
``I think it's definitely a confidence booster. She's probably extremely hungry. I remember I was there not too long ago, just hungry and wanting to turn heads. Kudos to her. She's the champion of the day.''

Coming back to the Drake Relays
``It's been four years. This is only my second race (since her injury in 2008) and to finish at the top of the field just shows that I'm competitive. I still have all the cups from the world record setting relay.''

Tiffany Ofili, senior, Michigan, winner women's invitational 100 hurdles, 12.82. Only collegian in the field. 2008 NCAA indoor and outdoor champion, 2009 NCAA indoor champion. Drake Relays university-college 100 hurdles champion last year.

Were you leading when Lolo Jones pulled up
``I wasn't sure. I was just concentrating on my lane and keeping my composure throughout the race.''

How did you keep your composure
``It kind of comes along with the race. It comes with experience. I just learned how to focus on my lane and not worry about what's going on to the left and the right of me.''

What does winning this race mean
``I'm excited. I'm happy with the win. It hopefully is going to give me some momentum for the rest of my season so I can just finish up my college career to the best of my ability.''

Lolo Jones, pulled up at eighth hurdle and did not finish. Had won the last four invitational 100 hurdles races at Drake. Des Moines native. Named one of the Relays Athletes of the Century for the meet's 100th running.

What happened
``About 10 days my leg was slightly inflamed and so I backed off on the workouts so I could get ready for Drake Relays. I thought I could pull off a win or just finish the race, but sadly I couldn't. If this would have been any other race, it's cold, it's raining, I would have pulled out. But due to the fact this is my hometown, I grew up a couple of blocks away from the Drake Stadium, I just felt it was too important for me to pull out. Maybe I should have. It definitely would have been better for me in the long run because there's a World Championships this year. But like I said, I have friends and family in the stands and it was very important for me to run today, very."

Feel it injured before the hurdle
``Yeah, definitely. That's why I want to emphasize. It wasn't me hitting a hurdle like in the Olympics. It's like a tennis ball that moved down my hamstring and I felt the pop. With that, I pulled up. You'll see in the video I popped straight up and that's why I hit the hurdle. It wasn't the simple fact that I was in the groove running and hit the hurdle. I definitely could not get over that hurdle. My leg would just not go over that hurdle.

How bad is it
``It's not as bad as thought. I can walk a little a bit on it. I'm not on crutches, so that's good. We don't know everything right now because I have to get X-rays. We definitely think it's just a slight tear. I think my leg protected itself in the race. It kind of cramped up and saved me from getting an all-around tear.''
On all her activities during the week
``It was definitely not the best for someone with an injury. Everyone knows the way to get rid of an injury is to rehab and rest. And when I'm doing a lot of things, it definitely was taking a toll on my body. It's also important for me to give back to the community and kids. Stuff like that gives me energy. I thank God I'm not severely injured. I'm not going to be out the rest of the season for show.''

Next events
``We had plans for Jamaica and Doha, but now everything has got to be shifted.''

On difference from Bejing
``In the slow-mo, you definitely see me pop straight up in the air. That's why I hit the hurdle. In the Olympics I hit the hurdle coming down. It was clearly technical. This was definitely my body saying, no, the next gear is not possible.''

Liz Wanless, New York AC, winner, Women's Invitational Shot Put, Drake Relays record 60-1 (18.31M) (Old Record: 58-3, Terri Steer, Nike, 2002). Wanless is ranked fourth in the U.S. and won among a field that featured the top five ranked throwers in the U.S.
On how the weather played to her advantage:

"I couldn't have been happier with the weather. This is Rocky weather. This is my favorite way to compete - dog eat dog - and it couldn't have been more fun. Like I said, I really was excited when I heard it was raining. This is what I practice in every day in Muncie, Ind. It was a dog eat dog win and it was fun to win."
On her winning throw, which was her second on the day:
"A big thing for me was keeping my upper body loose and letting my hips get ahead and I felt a nice rhythm. I felt smooth. So, I think keeping my upper body loose, that was what did it for me today."
On what it means to win a competition against the top five throwers in the nation:
"It's amazing (to win). Jill (Camarena) and Michelle (Carter) made the finals of the Olympic Games. I didn't even make the team. So to compete with them and win is fabulous."
Kristin Heaston, Nike, second, Women's Invitational Shot Put, 57-7 (17.55M). Heston is ranked third in the U.S.
On competing with the top five throwers in the nation:
"It's awesome. I mean, it was a rough competition day for all of us and a little cold, but there's no other place that has done this for the female throwers like Drake has. So we're all just so happy to be here and be a part of this. And hopefully next year, we'll get some better performances."
On this being a preview of USA Outdoor nationals at Drake in 2010:
"For all of us, we all want to throw well, particularly when we're going to be coming back. But it doesn't always happen that way. So, at least we're going to get experience now and we'll come back and be ready to go."
On her performance today:
"It wasn't a great distance, but it was better today than it's been in practice, so I can't ask for more than that."
Jill Camarena, New York AC, third, Women's Invitational Shot Putl, 57-3 (17.46M). Heston is ranked second in the U.S.
On the experience of competing in such a top field:
"Yeah, it's always great to get them (the top throwers in the nation) together. It's always a good competition, regardless of whatever the weather is. So it's fun to compete against them, and we don't see each other that much being spread across the country. So to get us all at one meet is awesome."
On her third-place throw:
"I had a rough day overall. I was kind of all over the place with my technique and working on an injury. So it was OK. I wasn't super excited about it, but it was a decent mark for right now."
On her injury:
"I sprained my ankle a couple of weeks ago and I'm a little sick. So just when I hit that toe board with that right foot and tried to stay, I fell a couple of times. That's OK though."
Michelle Carter, Nike, fourth, Women's Invitational Shot Put, 57-2 (17.44M). Carter is ranked first in the U.S.
On the experience at Drake today:
"I enjoy coming to Drake. It's a great track meet, so I was really excited - even though the weather's pretty bad today. But I enjoy coming here."
On competing in a competition featuring the top five throwers in the country:
"Oh yes, it was very exciting. The top people are here and it was a great competition today."
On her performance today and why it was a little rough for her:
"With me, it was more that I hate cold weather and I hate rain. So that's something that I mentally have to overcome over time. I don't like to be cold and I don't like to be wet, so mentally I have to really try and think about other things to throw well on a day like today."
Justin Gaymon, Georgia, sr., winner men's university-college 400 hurdles, 50.72 seconds, finished fourth at U.S. Olympic trials last summer. Third straight Drake Relays victory in UC 400 hurdles. Set meet record last year.
On the race
``I was hoping, with some good weather, that I could get down into the low 49s. However, when I came around the last turn, the wind picked up. It was tough, but it was still a good finish."
About the Relays
"I feel like a celebrity being here. The weather isn't too good, but yet, there is a full house and they're cheering everyone. It's great coming here every year, and winning three straight 400 meter hurdle races is something special."



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