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Trackside with Austin Abbott
Release: 02/24/2006
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Feb. 24, 2006

Sophomore Austin Abbott could quit running track tomorrow, and he'd be remembered for all-time in UW track history -- that's how significant a four-minute mile remains today, 52 years after Roger Bannister first broke the barrier at England's Oxford University. At February's Husky Classic, Abbott became just the third Husky runner ever to eclipse the hallowed mark, clocking a time of 3:59.47 that is the nation's fifth-fastest entering this weekend's Last Chance Qualifier. caught up with Abbott prior to his second-place finish in last week's MPSF Championships to talk about the significance of the four-minute race, and what it means for him in the coming year.

Go How big of an accomplishment was it for you to break four minutes in the mile?
Austin Abbott: "Pretty big, not that many people have done that. It is something that I can hold on to forever."

GH: Was this an accomplishment you have aimed towards for a long time?
Abbott:"About the end of the last indoor season I startedthinking about it. My coaches told me over the summer that they were setting up a race on Feb. 11 for me to try to do it. Fortunately, I was able to do it in that race, just as planned."

GH: It seemed like the field went through the first quarter a little fast; did that worry you at all?
Abbott: "Not really. I heard a lot of times but I didn't really pay attention to them. There were so many people racing the whole time [ed. note: six men broke four minutes in the event], I was just trying to run my race."

GH: Are you planning on running the mile at the NCAA Championships?
Abbott: "I don't think so; I think that we will run the DMR. We are going to Notre Dame to try to qualify, and I think that we will. If we don't qualify, I will run the mile."

GH: What are the team's chances of qualifying?
Abbott: "Pretty good; it would take something bad for us not to qualify. That is the only time we are going to run it, and we have to run a certain time to get into the NCAA Championships."

GH: You placed second as a freshman in the 1,500 meters at last year's Pac-10 meet. Does that give you confidence going into Saturday's MPSF mile final?
Abbott: "I beat a lot of guys that I didn't know, and they were really good. It was a big deal to me, being able to run that well."

GH: What are your goals for the upcoming 2006 outdoor season?
Abbott: "I would like to win a Pac-10 Championship, like Ryan (Brown, the 2005 Pac-10 800-meter champ). Other than that, I would like to be an All-American in outdoor track, because it is something that I have not done yet."

GH: Thanks for your time, Austin, and good luck this weekend at the MPSF meet, and next weekend at Notre Dame.
Abbott: "Thank you."

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