March 12, 2008
Senior Michelle Turner became the third Husky to qualify for this weekend's NCAA Indoor Championship meet in the mile when she ran it in 4:40.08 at the Last Chance Meet last Saturday. She joins senior Amanda Miller and sophomore Katie Follett at the meet at the University of Arkansas. Turner will also be running the distance medley relay at NCAA's along with Miller, Follet, and junior Falesha Ankton. Turner, a BYU transfer, will be making her third NCAA appearance, and first as a Husky.
GoHuskies.com caught up with Michelle this week to discuss the upcoming national meet:
GoHuskies.com: What is it like to be the third Husky runner to qualify for nationals in the mile?
Michelle Turner: Number three. It's exciting that I have two other teammates that are going. I'm excited to get in the race with my teammates. I think we can all qualify for finals. We've been working really hard in practice and now all of us are going to nationals and we'll just do what we do in practice. It's going to be exciting.
GH: You have been mainly an 800 runner during your career. How does it feel to qualify in the mile?
MT: The expectations in the 800 are what I've prepared for the last two years. It's what I've been focused on all of college. I've run the mile once before. I've done the 1600, but the mile is a brand new race for me. Coach has been saying that I could run this time, 4:40. I just had to believe him. It's nice going to nationals in a race that is brand new. You don't know what you're capable of and the sky is the limit.
GH: How do you compete at nationals in a new race?
MT: The 800 is a little bit more intense. It is flat out speed and it is so fast that you don't have time to really think about the race. The mile is definitely more of a mental race. Being strong mentally is something I need to work out. Taking my speed and just hanging with the pack and then using that kick that I have at the very end I think will go really well for me.
GH: Is there strategy when you have three runners from one team in a big race?
MT: Obviously if you are running next to your teammate you aren't going to cut them off or do anything like that. Just to have all of that purple there I think will be a help.
GH: What does being the only school with more than one qualifier say about the Washington program?
MT: It means we have the best mid-distance program in the country. Amanda and I both qualified also in the 800. She could've gone, but I wasn't quite fast enough. It definitely says we are one of the best in the country and the best indoors so far.
GH: You have to compete in two events in the same evening. How difficult is that?
MT: We're going to run pretty much back-to-back. We get two-and-a-half hours and you think that is a lot of time. But we will run a 4:40 pace, at least, and then come back and run an 800 leg. You just get some rest, maybe take a nap. It's a lot of pressure, but I think we can do really well.
GH: When you run two events almost back-to-back, then possibly have to compete the next day, how do you fight the fatigue?
MT: It's adrenaline. When that gun goes off everything comes back whether you're tired or not. It's that gut instinct to get across the line as fast as you can before anybody else. It really takes over.
GH: You just transferred to Washington prior to this school year. Any specific reasons you chose to be a Husky?
MT: My husband was going to grad school. There were a few programs that we were applying to and Washington I think had the best set-up. Coach [Greg] Metcalf had a great mid-distance team. Amanda Miller is a great 800 and miler. I hoped when I came here that I would improve and I did. I ran a 4:40 which is about a five second personal record for me. The facilities and the coaches and the team have been completely up to my expectations and beyond. We're very happy being here.
Check in at GoHuskies.com on Friday and Saturday to learn how Washington's NCAA competitors fared in Fayetteville.