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NACAC U-23 Championships - Day Three Quotes

Day Three NACAC Quotes
Erin Finn, women’s 5,000m, gold medalist – new meet record
“I just kind of wanted to stay even and go somewhere between 16 minutes and 16:20. I was pretty surprised when the Mexican girl, Elisa (Hernandez Sanchez) stayed with me, but it probably helped a little because it took me out a little faster than I wanted to go. All in all, it’s just kind of meant to be a steady thing. It was the first time under 5:30 per mile pace this season, so I’m just pretty satisfied with how it went overall.”
“Its definitely a big, big honor. I remember at Cross Country Juniors in 2013 I placed second. When I finished, they immediately wrapped me in a flag, and that was one of the coolest things that has every happened to me. I still have it hanging in my room. I just think about how blessed and lucky I was to be able to have that opportunity. To be able to replicate it here and hear the anthem, I don’t even have words for it.”
Alejandro Chavez, men’s 20,000m race walk, bronze medalist
“My strategy was to have a good 10K that I could set close enough to PR pace, which was like 45 minutes so that I could make a good split on the second 10K. The first 5K was nice and relaxed. But approaching 10K, my legs unfortunately started getting tired. On my second 10K, I crashed but still kept my head up, trying to push all the way to the finish line. I finished and I understand that it was just a bad day, but I get to start my season again in two weeks.
Emmanuel Corvera, men’s 20,000m race walk, silver medalist
“I went out there, and I was doing some laps at about 1:49.00, and I thought I would try to keep the 1:49.00 every lap and pretty much did that. I was juggling around 1:49.00 and 1:50.00 and 1:51.00. It’s a lot easier to keep track of your pace when you’re going laps instead of Ks. I just tried to come out here and just have fun because I know 20K is a lot to be worrying about, so I need to just do what I do. We do it in training, so it’s just another day to push it harder.”
On winning the silver medal
“It’s a pretty nice feeling. I didn’t think I would be getting this far. I have only been race walking for about a year and a half now. It’s a blessing to say the least”
Kiah Seymour, 400mH, gold medalist
“My strategy was to just stay relaxed because I usually feel pressure in the 400 hurdles, but this is a really fun meet and I’m really excited to represent my country and to just go out there and have fun. I approached the hurdles more relaxed each hurdle and tried to stay up with the competition and tried to finish strong.”
Tyler Brockington, 400mH, silver medalist
“I didn’t get out as fast as I thought I was going to, but I adjusted around the 200 to just try to keep my place in the race, so to speak. By then, I think I just ran out of gas, but you’ve got to push to the end.”
“Running for the United States, which is the greatest country in the world, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to wear the red, white and blue and to go out there and do God’s gift.”
Sha’Keela Saunders, women’s long jump, gold medalist
“It was pretty consistent although I scratched a couple. All the jumps were about the same distance of about 6.30 high and then 6.40, which is really close to my PR, so I’m pretty satisfied with that at this time of the year.”
On becoming a medalist and representing Team USA
“It’s amazing! Ever since I was nine years old, this has been a dream to wear the USA uniform. Now, it’s happening, and I just feel like this is a glimpse of the dream. This is exciting.”
Sydney Conley, women’s long jump, silver medalist
“Some of my jumps weren’t all that great to be honest. I definitely could have jumped better with all my series, but you know I was consistent with the same jump each time. I was just trying to get through it and just try to get the medal because that was all that mattered then.”
On competing and medaling for Team USA
“It feels great. It is definitely an opportunity to represent USA Track & Field and my country. You put this jersey on, and you’re not just running for you; you’re running for the entire country. It’s always a great thing. I thought it was a blessing in disguise.”
Shelby Houlihan, women’s 800m, gold medalist – new meet record
“I didn’t really have much of a strategy going into it because I didn’t really know how I was going to go out. Every race I run, I just try to assert myself in the top three and just kick the last 200. That’s pretty much what I did. I almost settled for second but then I knew I had just a little bit more, so I used it and ended up winning and it feels great.”
On winning a medal for Team USA
“It’s awesome. I’m just glad I was able to come out and represent USA well.
Megan Malsarte, women’s 800m, fourth place
“I was just trying to go at my own pace and just not try to attack it too much and be reasonable with the pace that I was going and run my own race. Then I tried to make a move going through the last back stretch, and we were all pushing it and that kind of got a little crazy. By the time I knew it, we only had 200 to go but I just didn’t have that pop. Nex thing you know, there was like 50 to go and I was trying to grasp for third. I just hit a wall and my legs just wouldn’t really pick up at all. That’s the 800 for you. I’m not really too happy with today just because I thought I was capable of running a lot faster and harder.”
“There was already a lot of pride and excitement going into this race being able to represent the U.S., and I guess I’m just utterly disappointed because I didn’t want to represent it and not medal.”
Dakari Hightower, men’s high jump, silver medalist
“The event overall was good to watch and good to see how good other jumpers can be. Warm-ups was spectacular. I came in at 6-10, first attempt – clearance. But before that even happened, I noticed that my shoe was ripped. I had took a jump with a broken shoe, and then I switched to the decathlete’s shoes and couldn’t get used to them. I only cleared one bar today.”
“I’m coming back next year, and I’m winning. That’s all I have to say, and that’s all there is to it.”
Jacorian Duffield, men’s high jump, NH
“It started off pretty good. I had a few technical difficulties with different marks. It was great to see other competitors and compete against other international people. This is my first team. Like I said, I didn’t come out and jump what I wanted, but I was glad I was able to come represent my country. It gives me a lot of motivation. I am definitely ready to get back home and get ready. Canada was great, but I’m ready to get back home and train for the next team. Hopefully, I can get back and make the next team and see a group of these guys next year at the World Championships.”
Michael Stigler, men’s 400mH, silver medalist
“It felt like my strategy for today’s race was to get out smooth and maintain the last 200. I got out smoothly. But coming around the last curve to the home stretch, I started getting a little fatigued. It’s bee a long season, but Trevor Brown came up on me and edged me out. I feel like it was a good race. I ran it correctly. I ran my own race and came in second for the U.S. and I can’t complain about the second place today.”
“It’s exciting to make a team. It’s a blessing. For me to be able to come out here and be able to represent the U.S. is an amazing feeling. I don’t take it for granted because I was just lucky enough to make the team. This gives me more passion for track & field to make the team, be around USATF and other athletes, and for me to perform better for my future to make other teams.”
Trevor Brown, 400mH, gold medalist
“I didn’t get my steps at all, so that didn’t play out in my favor. I’m supposd to go 21 steps, 13, 13, 13 steps. I went 21, 14, 14, 13, and then I jus stopped counting after that. I just started running. The hardest part around the back stretch was just getting my legs over the hurdle without touching it because if I would have hit it, I would have fallen.
“In the end, it was nothing but heart I guess. My form went out the door and everything – just run was all I was trying to do at that point.
On representing Team USA
“It feels great. It means I get to wear a really cool jersey for my country. It’s a pretty surreal experience of knowing that what I’m doing is pretty important, so I better not mess it up.”
Cierra White
women’s 200m, gold medalist
women’s 4x100m relay, gold medalist
women’s 100m gold medalist
“I was really nervous going in to the race, so as I was at the line, I was just thinking, ‘C’mon Cierra, you can do it. You’ve been training for this. Just get out hard and do what your coach told you to do, and you’ll come out pretty good.’ I think I executed the race well, and I finished all the way to the line.”
“I’m really proud of myself. I’m really excited. This is my first time here. It’s actually my first time making an international team, so it feels really good.”
Ashton Purvis, women’s 200m
“It was a bad race. I had already messed up in the beginning of the race. It was too late to make an adjustment, so I just wanted to hold on for it. It’s been great to meet new people, and I’ve reconnected with old people.”
Remontay McClain, men’s 200m, gold medalist
“The gun went off and I noticed that I wasn’t the first one coming off the curve. Aaron (Ernest) had a good lead on me. I might have to watch the tape, but I remember lanes 4 and up having a good lead on me. I maintained or tried to maintain my form at least, and I still kept running and then had a mindset that I have a good turnover speed, so I knew I was still in the race.”
Aaron Ernest, men’s 200m, fourth place
“I got out well. It was probably my best all year. At about 150, I felt my hamstring tighten up, and then I tried to relax and run through. But with about 20 meters to go, it just cramped on me and I just stopped, pulled up and jogged through the line.”
“It’s a great experience. This is my first time ever running this late in the season, in August. It just let me know what I have to do next year and to come in looking forward to next season knowing I am going to run here at the end of the year.”
Chris Low, men’s 800m, bronze medalist
“I ended up taking third, and it’s just an honor to be out here representing the United States, and I’m pleased with my performance. It was a long season, and it was hard working all the way to this meet. It was a good race.”
Darrell Hill, men’s shot put, silver medalist
“It was awesome to get the opportunity to come and compete for my country and represent the flag. The meet was put on well, and it was good to get some nice throws up with my teammate Willy (Irwin) here to take one and two. That was awesome.”
“This is an awesome experience. I can’t imagine what it’s going to do for me going forward to know that I was able to come represent my country, and I still have another year of eligibility in college. I can only imagine that the experience is going to benefit me in a positive way.
Willy Irwin, men’s shot put, gold medalist
“I felt really good today throughout the competition, both physically and technically. I didn’t get the best throw obviously, but I’m competing with my teammate Darrell, who actually has a better mark than me. He gave me some good competition, and all these other guys in the competition as well. It feels good to be a part of the USA team.”
“Actually going into this, I was kind of feeling a little burned out and not motivated for next season. But then I got this opportunity, and it gave me back that spark to get back into and to keep training hard and pushing forward every day.”
Jacob Blankenship, men’s pole vault, gold medalist
“I think it went pretty well. It was fun. It was enjoyable. It was a lot of adjusting and getting on those poles that we needed to. For the most part, it was fun. It was a good last meet, and now we get to rest up and get ready for next year.”
“It feels amazing and awesome, especially when both of us take one and two, gold and silver. It’s very exciting and I’m proud of that.”
Chase Wolfle, men’s pole vault, silver medalist
“It was a blast to be out here and to be with this team, representing the United States. The winds were kind of swirly and they were back and forth, but it wasn’t too bad. It was good. It was fun, and that’s why we are out here.”
“To medal and make the podium and represent the United States - to get to do all of that, we are bless to be a part of this team. It’s just a blast to be out here and have fun. To take one and two is amazing in itself with Jake (Jacob Blankenship) I. We feed a lot off of each other, and it’s fun. We get to jump a lot in the year with each other, so it’s fun that we get to jump out here together and we both took one and two. That’s just been awesome.”
Women’s 4x400m relay team, gold medal
Kiara Porter
“When we first started, they told us that with only two teams, there would be a different turn stagger. I wasn’t really comfortable with that, so I really just wanted to get out and give America a good lead and bring it home.”
“I come from a smaller school, so it’s just great to run with these ladies and to finish up the meet strong. It feels amazing to have a gold medal; it really does. It was watching everybody else the past couple days get theirs, I was just ready to get mine and I’m glad that I was able to.”
Taylor Ellis-Watson
“I had a pretty good lead, so I didn’t have to push myself. My hamstring is acting up a little bit, so I kind of backed off and just relaxed. It was a comfortable lead.”
“It feels good. I got second in the 400, so this is a nice ending.”
Brianna Nelson
“I was just so happy that they put me in such a good position. First leg got us out really far and then we just kept extending it I think throughout the race. It was just a really good run. I got it, and I just tried to focus on keeping us there and trying to make the gap a little bit bigger, running as comfortable as possible.”
“It’s always good to win a gold medal at any international meet, and I just think that this is really cool. It was my senior season of college, so like she (Kala Funderburk) was saying before, it was like a great end to a really good season. I couldn’t ask for any better way to end it.”
Kala Funderburk
“I was just thinking that we have to keep running how we are running. Obviously, we had a good lead, so our main thing was to just stay mentally in it. We were beating them physically. When I started running, I was just happy to be running. It feels great to have a gold medal. This is actually just my first relay of the year because I redshirted at my school. It’s like the cherry on top of my kind of fairytale-ending season.”
Men’s 4x400m relay team, gold medal
Najee Glass
“it was the same thing as my college career – get out fast first 30, maintain the speed, and then just bring it home for the last 150. It was kind of different here because you can cut in after the first 100. That was a little different, but everything else was pretty cool.
Brycen Spratling
“I was just kind of depending on Najee to give me the lead a little bit. From there, I just wanted to open it up as much as I could. We got the win, so I’m happy about it. It feels good to just have another win under my belt.”
Akeem Alexander
“I tried to spread it out because I knew we were going to have the lead. I’m happy we got the win, and that’s all that matters.”
Vernon Norwood
“I knew we were going to have the lead before I got the stick. I just tried to chase the clock and try to get a fast time with the guys.”
Soloman Ijah, decathlon, silver medalist
“Day One, I started out kind of rough in the first two events. Coming out of the 100 and long jump, I had to take a security jump. No one likes to do that. I started to pick it up from there. From shot put in, I had a good 400, so I felt solid ending it, but I was a good 200 points behind my normal mark for the first day.”
“I came out pretty good for the hurdles and ran a season best in the decathlon at 14.93 an then held strong for the rest of it. It was a really supportive field. It was nice.”
“The events today went well with discus and javelin. With the work I’ve been putting in, I felt like those were decent marks, and I felt like that was comfortable and just about where I should be. I ended up medaling, and it was just an honor to be there with the flag. Representing our country is always a huge honor. It was an absolute blessing to be out there.”
Kale Wolken, decathlon bronze medalist
“This is definitely not how I pictured this going. Day one started off okay. But during the second event, long jump, I hurt my hamstring/(glute) attachment. After that I thought I would be able to continue because I had a lot of adrenaline going. But after talking with my coach, we decided it would be best to just finish the events I could without putting anymore strain on the hamstring tendons.”
“I came up here to represent the USA, so getting a medal and staying in the competition wasn't just for myself pride, but for the U.S. In general.”
“As far as how the second day went, I just did the best I could in what I had to work with. The other two guys were great to watch and compete against.  It was definitely an honor and a humbling experience to be up here representing my country, so thank you for the opportunity.”

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