May 13, 2009
Senior Joe Turner has been one of Washington's most valuable and versatile sprinters over his two years with the Huskies. A native of Fresno, Calif., Turner came to Seattle from Modesto Junior College last year, and has run at every distance from the 60-meter dash to the 400-meter dash for the Dawgs, as well as serving as a key relay contributor. Turner ran the third leg of UW's 4x100m Pac-10 Champion relay last season, which went on to compete at NCAA's. This season's highlights have included a trip to the Penn Relays, where Turner helped UW's sprint medley relay to a second-place finish, and Regional qualifiers in the 200-meter dash and the 4x1 relay. Turner discusses his goals for the last few meets of his career, the trip to Philadelphia, and who he plans to be chasing down after graduation.
GoHuskies.com: So in the WSU dual meet you got your Regional qualifier in the 200 as well as the 4x1 relay; was that the goal going into that meet?
Joe Turner: "The overall goal was that, but ultimately I just wanted to run each race and finish. That's the big thing, because my hamstring's been messed up. So to come out, especially with the rainy conditions, to qualify for the relay when we are a little banged up and then to come back and qualify for the 200, it's a big thing. I didn't feel much like running because of the rain. I was hoping I could have (qualified) in the 100 too but I was just shy of that, but I'm happy with it."
GH: So is it a relief at all to get those qualifiers out of the way?
JT: "Yeah, it is. So coming to Pac-10's I'm mainly focusing on the 100 now, since I got the 4x1 and the 200 already, so it takes a lot of stress off."
GH: If you qualified in all three would you try and run all of them at Regionals?
JT: "Oh definitely, yeah, whatever I qualify at if I can be on the track I'll do that."
GH: So like you said you've been hampered a bit by a hamstring problem this year; how would you say your health is now?
JT: "I'm definitely not 100 percent right now, but I'm getting there slowly. I'm running well though so I can't complain too much."
GH: Does it limit your amount of training?
JT: "A little bit, because I don't want to come out especially in practice and go at 100 percent because I'm scared it might pull up again, but during the meets I definitely give it my all. I guess if I could practice a little harder then my meets might turn out to be a little better, but I've got to do what I've got to do just to finish the year. Last year, can't hold nothing back."
GH: Now you went to the Penn Relays just a couple weeks ago, and it sounds like that was a great experience. What was that whole trip like?
JT: "Being back that far east, that was the first time I'd ever been over there, and just going and seeing the crowd, the atmosphere and Penn Relays, just the name itself, it was pretty exciting. So I think I was more nervous just being in front of everybody than actually running, so yeah it was a big thing. Since we were the only team from the West Coast, as we lined up to run, people were like, `Who's this team in lane nine? Who's Washington?' Just talking down about us. So to come out and take second, I think people were surprised and saw that we came to do business."
GH: What all did you guys do as far as sightseeing?
JT: "We went to the Rocky monument, looked at a lot of the architectural structures of the buildings, went to a Phillies game against the Brewers, that was pretty big. It was the first baseball game I've ever been to. We went to a restaurant that John Jackson our trainer kept hyping up, called Ishkabibble's, that had famous cheesesteaks. But we went and ate there and it was a bit of a letdown. I gave him a hard time about that. He still thinks it's good, but it really wasn't."
GH: So coming from junior college, this is basically the third year in a row you've had a different coach. Has that been tough, and how have you adjusted to Coach Sheen?
JT: "Having three different coaches in three years, it seems like as soon as I get a coach and get used to the program, it has switched again, so I have to start all over again. So it's kind of hard to find my rhythm. But with Coach Sheen I felt comfortable with him, I felt like he knew what he was doing, and I've been happy to end with him my senior year."
GH: How has Coach Sheen differed from recent coaches?
JT: "The thing he always gives me a hard time about is my weight. He always makes little side jokes and hints at it to try and get me to drop some weight, but it's all in fun."
GH: So looking ahead now with Pac-10's, Regionals, and hopefully NCAA's left, what are you hoping to accomplish as you wrap up the season?
JT: "Pac-10's of course I want to go and defend our 4x1 title. That'd be nice. Hopefully try to win Pac-10's, get to Regionals, qualify for the NCAA's in the 200, that would be big right there and of course in the 4x1."
GH: You came here from Modesto Junior College. What led you to go the junior college route and then how did you make your way to Washington?
JT: "Out of high school I wasn't a four-year college qualifier, so after that I was kind of lost. Then I met my coach over at Modesto Junior College, and he steered me that way. Now that I went there and I look back on everything, I'm glad that I did it because I learned a lot, grew up, matured a little. When I came to Washington I was focused, knowing what to do in my classes and knowing how to take care of myself. So going to J.C. was a big plus for me."
GH: So then did (former UW sprints coach LaMonte Vaughn) contact you?
JT: "It was kind of funny because I took my trip to Arizona State and I committed to them, I wanted to go there and told their coach that, and we kept in contact, but then one day he just stopped calling me. I never heard from him again, and I was kind of lost again. All the Cal State schools had started already, and since Washington starts so much later than everybody else, Coach Vaughn called me out of the blue one day, told me about the school, flew me out here I looked at the campus and I loved it, met some of the teammates and I decided to come here."
GH: So are you happy with the way things worked out?
JT: "Oh yeah, I have no complaints at all. I'm very happy here; the school, my teammates, professors, coaches, I love it. Just not so much the weather.
GH: This is a pretty experienced group of sprinters on the men's side, but you seem to be a pretty vocal leader. Do you see yourself like that at all?
JT: "I'd say I'm a little more the jokester, that's how I lead. Keep it laid back and not so stressful, keep everybody relaxed and having fun in practice. I guess that's just the way I am."
GH: Lastly, what is your major and have you figured out your plans for after graduation?
JT: "Sociology is my major. I graduate in December, and then I start the police academy in January. I already got accepted to that. So when I get done with school I'm going straight to the police academy in California."
GH: Wow, congratulations on that and good luck the rest of the season.
JT: Thank you.