Jan 29, 2009 -Travis Padgett, the collegiate record holder outdoors in the 100 meters, will make his professional debut Friday when he competes in the Visa men's 60 meters at the 102nd Millrose Games. Millrose is the first stop of USATF's 2009 Visa Championship Series. The 2007 NCAA indoor 60m champion, Padgett was fourth at the 2008 Olympic Trials at 100m and set a collegiate record of 9.89 in the quarterfinals. A standout for three years at Clemson University, Padgett was the 100m runner-up at the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships and a six-time NCAA All-American. He earned three consecutive All-America honors in the 100m dash, including the 2008 season, when he was runner-up to eventual Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson of LSU. Last August, Padgett announced his intention to forego his final year of collegiate eligibility to join the professional ranks.
Q: How do you feel about opening your professional career at Millrose, against people like Shawn Crawford?
A: I'm very excited about having my first indoor season professionally. I'm with a new coach, Loren Seagrave. I ran against guys like Shawn Crawford outdoors last season, and I really enjoy it.
Q: Where are you training?
A: I'm training in Marietta, Ga., at Life University. I've been training with Loren since the first of November.
Q: How is your training different this year compared to last year?
A: It's a big difference. Training under Loren and without college competition, it's a lot more intense. There is more one-on-one training. It's a lot more technical. This is the kind of training I've always wanted. It's been very different from what I'm used to. I'm coming along pretty good.
Q: Do you have the same kind of confidence at 60 meters as you do at 100?
A: The 60 is kind of my specialty event. I enjoy running the shorter distances, since the guys with the longer legs, I have a harder time keeping up with them over the longer distances. In 2007, when I was at Clemson, I won the 60m at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Q: When and why did you decide to become a professional?
A: It was shortly after the Games were over that I made the decision to turn professional. One of the biggest factors was financial. I wasn't always as fortunate as the rest. I talked to my mom and dad about it, and they are behind me with it. We felt like it was time for me to go.
Q: Having run so well in Eugene, at the Olympic Trials, how long did it take before you could start seeing the positives after placing fourth?
A: I trained very hard and was working my way up through the Trials. At the beginning of the year, I sat down with my coach and said I haven't run under 10 seconds since my freshman year. I always said I wanted to break the NCAA record before I left. That was my goal heading into the Trials. I opened with 9.99, and that's what motivated me.
Q: Clemson and Florida State are both in the ACC. How many times did you run against Walter Dix?
A: I always love to run against Walter Dix. There is good competition between us. Sometimes he'd outrun me, and sometimes I'd outrun him. When we got ready to run, you knew we were going to run some fast times.
Q: Talk about your Olympic experience.
A: I've always dreamed about being a part of the Olympics. To get picked to run on the Olympic Team was a dream come true for me. I hate the way it turned out (in the 4x100 relay). Things like that happen, but that could have happened to anyone. This year, with the World Championships, if we can put the same (relay) team out there, we can outrun the Jamaicans.
Q: What are your goals for 2009?
A: In the 100 I want to run faster than 9.89, and I'd like the 60-meter world record this year.
Q: What meets will you run in during the indoor season?
A: I'll run Millrose, then Boston (Reebok Boston Indoor Games). After that will be the Tyson Invitational. (All are part of the Visa Championship Series.) I'm chasing down the big meets to get people to push me to run that kind of time.
Q: Will you run USA Indoors?
Q: What is your background in other sports?
A: I did football and ran track in high school. After high school I started to take track a little more seriously. After that I started to like it even more. I enjoy every minute of it.
Q: What is your PR in the 60m.
Q: My PR is 6.66. At Millrose, it's my first meet, so I am hoping to run somewhere in the 6.60 range.
Tickets for the 2009 Millrose Games are now available at Ticketmaster (call 212-307-7171, visitwww.Ticketmaster.comor at Ticketmaster outlets); at the Madison Square Garden box office or on-line atwww.Millrose-Games.com. USATF welcomes you to pay with your Visa. On Monday, Padgett spoke to the press via media teleconference. Below are excerpts from the call. For more information on the 102nd Millrose Games and the Visa Championship Series, visitwww.visachampionshipseries.com