Athlete Quotes - USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships - Thursday, June 20
USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Athlete quotes will be updated after each event.
Galen Rupp, Men’s 10,000, Champion.
On the win: “It was all about winning. For me, time obviously was irrelevant. I want to keep it rolling as long as I can. It is fun winning national championships. These are the meets we shoot for. It’s all about national championships, world championships and Olympics. ”
On the slow pace: “I knew going in it would probably go out slow. I tried to say back and conserve as much energy as possible. If the pace was fast or slow, I feel confident in my ability to win.”
On the weather: “The conditions were not great. It was hot outside and there were not a lot of people in the stands. I was happy to have it over with.”
Shalane Flanagan, Women’s 10,000, Winner.
On the race: “I feel like I didn’t know what pace to expect given the conditions, so I let my body gravitate towards the pace that was. I feel like I found a pretty good rhythm. I was running in the 77s for most of the races. I got out, established a presence, and let it be known that I wanted to run.
On winning a national title: “It’s important to me, it really is. Winning national titles is important because it’s a step towards the next level and I think it’s important to win national titles to have a presence in the U.S. and to inspire and motivate people. I enjoy the competition, the atmosphere, it’s all important.”
On the weather and how it related to the pace: “I didn’t run as fast as I could because of the conditions. It was windy and it was hot, which seems like an oxy-moron. It wasn’t ideal but we just had to make do with what it was. It was warm and traditionally I like to close the race pretty fast and I really just did not run any faster than I was. It was one of those races where I was just like ‘can we please get this over with as soon as possible’. It was uncomfortable from the beginning and I’m happy I walked away with the championship title.”
Omar Craddock, Men’s Triple Jump, Champion.
On the weather: “I got the wind behind me, it felt good.”
On his goals: “I just want to keep jumping, keep improving, and keep working.”
On triple jump championship: “I’ve been working on winning this since I was 16. I thought I was going to the 2008 Olympics. To capitalize on my senior season as a (Florida) Gator is a true blessing. I talk to God every jump I do and ask for him to keep me strong and keep it a fun, friendly competition.”
On his lack of fouls tonight: “My coach really hammered down on not fouling and just being comfortable with my running. So I worked hard and came back without a foul.”
Emily Stites, Junior Women’s 5000, Winner.
On the huge lead and the win: “It was my coach’s idea to lead from the gun and run an even pace. I was hoping to run a little faster, but a win is a win. I am very thankful for that.”
On making worlds: “I went to Poland for World Cross Country and it was a great experience. Any chance to be a world team is a great experience.”
Thomas Awad, Junior Men's 5000, Winner.
On the win: "I was pretty confident today. I had the fastest qualifying time. If it was a fast race, I knew that I would be in it. I have been in a lot of tactical races this year. I knew I would be able to sprint the last couple laps if I had to. I am happy that I could finish it off and compete to the best of my ability. Now I get to compete in Columbia."
Justin Gatlin, Men’s 100 Meters, Prelims, Heat 2.
On the weather at the Blue Oval: “I just wanted to get out. There was a little hurricane out there, but it felt good to come out here, shake the legs out. Running in this stadium, the way it is structured is so different. You feel the audience right next to you especially since I was in lane eight. I could see everybody. I felt like I was walking in the path of the past. I saw high school friends, college friends everyone like that.”
On the race: “I wanted to have a clean start, a technical start, make sure I get through the first half of the race. I wanted to be able to power through the finish line and be sure I made it to the next round. When you are a good runner you put down some great times throughout your career. There is nothing new.”
Jeff Demps, Men’s 100 Meters, Second, Heat 4.
On the race: “I got a pretty good start. I wanted to jump out of the hole early, set the tone and get comfortable. There is always some critiquing because you don’t have the perfect race. For the most part, it went well. I came out and was able to execute from the start.”
On going professional: “It is a lot different. There aren’t as many races. This time of year you are fresh and you are peaking at the right time. You have to stay focused.”
Tyson Gay, Men’s 100, Winner, Heat 1.
On his race: “I sat too long after warm-ups before I ran, but I can adjust that for tomorrow. I feel good about the run. I didn’t have a great start, but again, we’ll work those kinks out and come back better for tomorrow.”
On the weather: “With all this heat, I didn’t really push as hard as I could have, but we’re all facing that.”
Charles Silmon, Men’s 100 Winner, Heat 2.
On why he won his heat: “I got rest. I was able to rest. I feel 100% better.”
On his goals this weekend: “My goal is to make the team in any event.”
Isiah Young, Men’s 100, Winner, Heat 3.
On 100 vs. 200 meters: “It’s a bit shorter race, but I just executed it like it was practice. I’m just a sprinter, all around, so whatever I’ve got to do that day, I’ll do it to the best of my ability.”
Dentarius Locke, Men’s 100, Winner, Heat 4.
On his race: “I just went out and ran my race. My goal was to execute and that’s what I did.”
On his improvement this season: “Right now I feel like ever since regional’s I’ve been starting to execute a lot better than ACC’s. I’ve been working on executing my races 100%.”
On high caliber competition: “I’ve watched him a lot. I’ve watched him since I was little. Walter (Dix), (Jeff) Demps, those guys I’ve been watching since I was young. I had to block everything out and run my race. It’s kind of funny that I won, but I just want to come out and execute tomorrow instead of focusing on this heat.”
Octavious Freeman, Women's 100, Winner, Heat 3.
On her race: "It felt kind of good, the wind it plays a big factor, but I tried to concentrate on running my race pattern and make it to the next round. I’ve been working on the start good this week. We're going to play around with that and see how it goes, then it’s all on making it to the next round and PR, that’s my main goal, that’s my focus."
Kimberlyn Duncan, Women's 100, Heat 4. DID NOT QUALIFY
On her attempt at qualifying: “I tried to go out there and execute the race as best as possible, but I don't think I made it through, which just means I’ve got more time to get ready for the 200 and focus on that race.”
Alexandria Anderson, Women's 100, Winner, Heat 4.
On her race: "It was good, it was cool. It's been a good race, it was a little windy, but that’s not going to stop me. Everyone is facing it, so I just went out and focused on executing."
English Gardner, Women's 100, Heat 4 Prelims.
On her race: "I made it through, that’s all I can ask for. The middle was a little shaky, got carried by the wind a little bit. I was blowing like a kite out there."
On Carmelita Jeter’s scratch: “I would like her (Carmelita Jeter) to be on the line. I'm a competitor so I don't ever want something just given to me. It would be nice to see if she was on the line for me if I got to go against her one more time what the turnout would be.”
Cara McClain, Women’s Junior Hammer, Champion.
On Winning: “Winning was not on my mind. I just wanted to do the best I could. My main goal was getting to Pan Ams in August. That is all I was really trying to do. My goal is have as much fun as I can.”
On her throw: “My goal was to get just an inch past my personal best. I ended up getting an eight foot personal best.”
Bryshon Nellum, Men’s 400 Meters, 1st Heat. DID NOT QUALIFY
On failure to qualify: “I didn’t make it to the next round. I have had a long season. Coming off the NCAAs, I tried to take my body to the next level and I injured my hamstring. I have doing a lot of rehab hoping I would be healthy by the time I came here, but I needed a couple more days. I had to take it easy and at least finish the race. I came back to college to win the national championship and accomplished that goal. The next, of course, was to make the world team, but the week before I tweaked my hamstring and I had no time to heal. The window was short for me.”
Tony McQuay, Men’s 400 Meters, Winner, 2nd Heat.
On his race: “My whole strategy was to come out and get control of the race early. I was talking to my coach and he said it was about trusting your soul, trusting yourself, trusting your training. I knew listening and trusting myself and taking control when it was time to go. I felt comfortable. This is my first year on the pro circuit so I am getting experience. I have been on this stage before. You have to go in and execute your race plan. It played out the way I wanted it to. I trusted my training to bring me home strong. I saw I had control of the race so I backed off to have enough for the rest.”
Michael Berry, Men’s 400 Meters, Winner, 1st Heat.
On his race: “I just wanted to get out hard. At 80 meters I wanted to float on the backstretch and go hard in my last 120 and make sure I got top three. My blocks slipped when I came out on my first block start so I had to fix it so it wouldn’t slip any more. Once I adjusted it, it was perfectly fine. I just have to run my race. I can’t worry about anyone else.”
Josh Mance, Men’s 400 Meters, Winner, 3rd Heat.
On his race: “It was a good race. I got out not too hard or not too slow. Everything came out the way I wanted it to. James Harris is a great guy and once he made his move, I thought about Bryshon (Nellum) and I said ‘don’t make a mistake’ so I went with him and won the race. I will go home, relax and watch the (Miami) Heat game tonight. Track is the last thing on my mind right now.”
LaShawn Merritt, Men’s 400 meters, Winner, 4th Heat.
On his race: “I was just kind of running blind. The guy outside of me said, ‘don’t come get me too soon’ so I knew he was going out fast. I usually look at the JumboTron, but I couldn’t see it. I don’t know why. I felt good. I came off the curve good and wanted to be in position. I was looking on my inside to see if I was coming up on the curve first and I did. I knew the wind and I wanted to come hard and power my way through the wind and keep my form. I will get my flush and refreshment just like everyone else. I will cool down, see my chiropractor and head back to the hotel. I just want to see a good game.
Geena Gall, Women's 800, Prelims.
On her race: "I am pretty confident going into these next few days. It's all about racing, it's all about times. I'm pretty good at racing. I've run a lot of 800s been through a number of different scenarios and situations. I'm really happy with this round, it will put me in position tomorrow."
Brenda Martinez, Women's 800, Prelims.
On her race: "I think I'm ranked like 20th in the 1,500 and second for the 800 so it probably makes sense to go for the 800. I have to focus one day at a time, focus on the task at hand. That's what coach told me and that's what I plan to do. I've been feeling pretty good, got a few races under me, and I’m starting to feel sharp."
Brian Gagnon, Men's 800, Prelims.
On his race strategy: "Just to put your head down and go, not let anyone box me in, don't get stuck on the rail. As I was coming around 200 I could hear my coach yelling, 'watch the outside, watch the outside' so I moved out in the outside of lane 1 and won my heat."
Tyler Mulder, Men's 800, Prelims.
On his family in the crowd: “I saw my little brother during warm-ups, which was just a big encouragement to me, seeing my mom as well; it's huge just being here in Iowa.”
On running at the Blue Oval: “I love running here, nothing but good memories from here. Winning Drake championships as a collegiate athlete and winning state titles as a high school kid, and now hopefully get a U.S. championship title here, and then I can seal the whole deal all the way across the board.”
On the weather: “It’s not as hot in Oregon, we don't even need air conditioning. I did come down a little earlier so I could get used to it, you can definitely feel it. Just need to take care of myself and cool down."
Nicholas Symmonds, Men's 800, Prelims.
On the competition: “When you’re running you have an Olympic team on the line you have to deal with the nerves. Today I actually had to remind myself that this is serious competition you need to treat it like it’s a world final basically, because you get careless in a prelim like this. There is a lot of talented guys out there and they're very happy to bump me from the next round.”
Treniere Moser, Women's 1,500, Prelims.
On Mary Cain: "I've been in Park City, Utah for two months, and Mary (Cain) has been there the last few weeks. All year we would see each other every couple months, it's kind of cool. I'm better in the longer stuff and she's really quick so it’s been a good complimentary experience for us."
Mary Cain, Women's 1,500, Prelims.
On her race: "Going into it of course a lot goes through your mind, for me it was just going in there gaining experience. I hope to be doing a lot of these down the road the more comfortable I get the better I get."
Lopez Lomong, Men's 1,500, Prelims.
On his race, the weather, and the Blue Oval: "I feel great, the heat is great. It will be a fun weekend. What a great time to do run a 1500, to come and do it here at Drake. The beautiful blue track and the heat is fine, it’s great. I think my muscles are getting warmed up with this heat. It’s really great, total different tactics, different pain, then 5,000 meters something that I was prepared to do, we have been training very hard for this. Now it’s time to go out and execute."
Natasha Hastings, Women’s 400 M, Winner, Heat 2.
On the race: “It was a little windy coming down the home stretch, but I made it to the next round comfortably. I felt great out there.”
Sanya Richards-Ross, Women’s 400 M, Winner, Heat 1.
On her race: “Today was good. I was really happy to at least be able to block out the pain in my toe and run a full race today. It was a little tough, but the first one is always tough so hopefully I will be able to take an ice bath tonight and be rested up for tomorrow.”
On her toe injury: “I can still feel it, but it’s manageable. I’m really trying to stay in my head and not focus on the toe, just focus on execution.”
On her predictions for the final: “I predict I’m going to make the team. I think Natasha (Hastings) will run well and so will Francena (McCorory). We’ll see, but I want that top three. I feel good out there and I have confidence in being the Olympic champion, so we will just have to see how it goes.”
Andrea Geubelle, Women’s Triple Jump, Champion.
On her jumps: “My coach reassured me he had what it takes to compete. He said ‘You have been training for this all year and you can be successful at this meet.’ I definitely need this from the confidence standpoint; especially to put a 46 (foot) jump out there. I really haven’t jumped 46 since indoor. I know I have so much more in my tank. It is just a matter of getting myself healthy and hit the standard. If I do that then I have a chance to get to Moscow. I went 46-6 indoors and that was about two centimeters short, so I am close. I have until the 20th (July) to meet it.”
Johnny Dutch, Men’s 400 Hurdles, Winner, Heat 1.
On the weather, his race, and the Blue Oval: “It was pretty hot. I train in Miami, but I came out here and I was surprised at the humidity. The beginning is like a big blur. I wanted to get out and establish a lead. I switched up my steps a little bit just so I wouldn’t exert too much effort and get to the semis. This is one of my favorite venues. I like the home crowd and the track is blue. For some reason when I compete on blue tracks I run fast. So, that being said, I believe Moscow is a blue track. I had a good race so I am satisfied.”
Kerron Clement, Men’s 400 Hurdles, Winner, Heat 2.
On his race: “The point was to stay relaxed and run my race plan. I messed up on a couple hurdles. It was very windy so I think that made me stumble a bit. Each round I will get better. I have run against these guys before so I know what they are capable of and I know what I am capable of.”
Bershawn Jackson, Men’s 400 Hurdles, Second, Heat 3.
On his race: “It was nationals all over again. It is always tough. Last year I had a disastrous year. It was a humbling experience. It was tough my not making the team last year. I am happy to be back on the track. The first round is down and two to go. It was very windy out there, but I remember running a 47.42 on this track two years ago in this wind. I missed the team last year. The past is the past. It’s a bit of redemption. The people who think I am washed up at 29 years old, I am going to prove them wrong.”
Gabriele Anderson, Women’s 1500 M, Winner, Heat 2.
On her heat: “It was a very tactical race, probably a preview of what’s to come on Saturday. It feels good to make it on to the next race. Sometimes it’s a bad idea to go into a race with a set idea of what’s going to happen. This year, I feel confident that I can run a fast race and have a good kick. We’ll just have to see what Saturday holds for us.”
Michael Tinsley, Men’s 400 M Hurdles, Winner of heat 3.
On his feet: “It feels good. The first round is always the most nerve racking. You don’t want to run to fast, you want to advance, but you know a lot of guys are going out to try to advance so you have to set your race up pretty smooth.”
On his season: “I feel a lot stronger, with a lot more company coming into the race and I found my own rhythm that I like to stick to and it’s been working pretty well.”
On being an Olympic Silver medalist: “More pressure, people expect more out of you. When I step up to the line they announce ‘Olympic Silver medalist’ and people want to see what you can do. That pressure can be pretty tough.”
Tony Brown, Junior men's 110 hurdles, Champion.
On the race:"I got out really well. I finished strong. I think I hit a hurdle. When (Trey) Holloway and the other guy got beside me, I didn't watch them I just worried about my race."
On preparing for the race: "I really didn't do anything different. I worked a lot on technique. Last week in North Carolina I tried to seven step, but that didn't work out so I went back to eight steps. I went back to my eight-step approach and it worked much better. I don't want to go out of the country and represent my country trying to seven step."
Christina Melian, Junior 3,000 Meters, Finals.
On the win: "If you asked me a year ago if I could do this I probably would have said no way. I'm really excited to be here to win it is just such an honor."
Kendall Williams, Junior Heptathon, Champion.
On today's part of the competition: "In the javelin, I PR’d by like six feet so I was really happy because I have been working on it a lot with my dad. It was on my first throw, a big PR so I am really happy."
Coy Blair, Junior Shot Put, Champion.
On his win: "I went into the finals at 19.14 and just decided it was go time. I went through and hit one like I had in warm ups. It's still far from what I have been doing in practice.”
On the his season: “I was at NCAA's two weeks ago and I have had a lot less time to work with the 6 kilo. Being on it for a week and a half and coming here and doing what I did I think it was all right."
Timothy White-Edwards, Junior Triple Jump, Champion.
On his throws: "The effort was good. I came out preparing myself to PR and get a better record. I jumped a 53-2 it was good out there, good competition. I love the heat."
Sasha Wallace, Junior 100 hurdles, Champion.
On pushing through high wind for a win: "I don't know exactly what the wind speed was. The wind was crazy, I wish my time was better, but it’s always difficult to run into the wind. You don't know how to train for the difficult surroundings and you really don't want to think about it until you run. It is what it is."
Tate Schienbein, Junior Men’s 3000m Steeplechase, Champion.
On his race strategy: “I just wanted to maintain on the first lap. I was in the fourth or fifth position in there. I recall at about 600 meters someone kind of made a rush and the field spread out a bit. I knew I wanted to run my race. So I got up there and stayed right behind Brendan Smith of Penn. He took the lead a bit on the last lap and then I took over and kept it going.”
Morolake Akinosun, Junior women’s 100 meters, Champion.
On her race: “I was just focused on staying in my drive. It was a great race. The wind wasn’t that bad. In Champaign (Illinois) we are used to all kinds of weather. The humidity was no factor at all.”
Trayvon Bromell, Junior Men’s 100 meters, Champion.
On the race: “It was a good race, a lot of good competition. The runners who came in second and third really got out quick. In finals, I never really think about the wind. In the finals, I keep my head focused on my race. I work on my blocks. My start is good so I really work on getting out of the blocks.”
Hayden Reed, Junior Men’s Discus, Champion.
On his throws: “I threw 206 on my first throw. The first one was really good. I got greedy after that and stepped out of the ring trying to go for a longer PR. I wanted to stay in the hunt, but just got greedy. I would say 210 or a little more isn’t out of reach, but I have to throw it first. Hopefully, we will find out at the Pan Ams.”