Hooker Sets the Field in the 100m Dash


Amber James
Special to USATF
USA Track & Field

Four-time NCAA champion Marshevet Hooker established her first Olympic Trials performance by tying her previous personal best time in the first round of 100m dash, 10.94. Running such a fast time in the prelims, with three rounds left to go, is rare. Athletes usually run just fast enough to qualify for the next round, choosing instead to conserve their energy. When asked if she had intended to run so fast, Hooker said, "I didn't have a time in mind. I was just trying to execute the race the way my coach told me to, which was win the 60 meters." Hooker excelled at the 60m dash in college, and her strategy for running the 100m is to win the 60 meters and hold that speed through the 100 meter finish line.

Her strategy served her well twice today, first in the prelims and then again in the quarterfinals, where she ran a stunning, wind-aided time 10.76 (+3.4 wind) in the quarterfinals. The time was .09 ahead of her next-fastest competitor, Torri Edwards. Hooker was asked what her coach (Jon Drummond, 2000 Olympic 4x100 meter relay gold medalist) said to her after this race: "You did a good job but you got another round. You gotta shake it off, gotta keep running."

One thing that Hooker is working on during these Olympic Trials, and that has caused her some trouble in both 100m dash rounds so far, is her start. "I'm getting used to these blocks, but I stuttered a little bit... but I didn't let it shake me, I just kept running; you can't think about it too much." Despite her slight trouble getting out of the blocks, Hooker is clearly up to the challenge of competing to the best of her ability, both mentally and physically. She is conscious of the stiff competition that she faces, but doesn't let it get to her, preferring instead to focus on herself and her race: "Well, I knew before coming here that there was going to be very very tough competition, but you kinda have to put that out of your mind and focus on your race."

Hooker is a sprinter in the truest form of the word, her events being the 60m dash, 100m dash, 200m dash, and the long jump. In 2006, Hooker won the 60m dash and the long jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and she won the 100m dash the year before and was runner-up in the long jump. In 2007, Hooker's first year on the professional scene, she won the 100m dash at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games and the Tyson Invitational. She graduated from the University of Texas in 2007 and is 23 years old.