Long Jump - 16-0.5
Q) Talk about the recruitment process - what other schools were you looking at, and how did you come to choosing Duke?
From a fairly young age my family and I developed this expectation that I would be an Ivy League student; my dad always said "shoot for Harvard, and hopefully land close". This was from an academic standpoint, as school has always been my focus, followed by music, and then my sports. However, everything changed when I joined the club track team Angel Flight. I'd always liked track, but never loved it, and then suddenly I was thrown into an environment where my training and track and field in general, became my life. When junior year hit, college became a reality, with a constant worry on the back of my mind about where I would run. Not completely surprising, the Ivy's were the first to contact me, starting with Brown and Yale. I was ecstatic, and couldn't have maintained the relationship with the coaches without the guidance of my parents and coaches. However, at that time, I was still pretty new to the track world, and it wasn't until the outdoor summer season of junior year that more colleges started to show interest. When my times dropped significantly, more Ivy's, and a ton of non Ivy's started showing interest. I was bombarded with emails and calls and felt a little bit like a business woman selling a product, but I was selling myself. By senior year, I had narrowed my college list down to 5: Yale, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, and Duke. I had a lot more contact with the three Ivy's than with Coach Mueller at Duke, so I was nearly positive I would end up at one of the Ivy's. However at the first Mines meet of the 2018/2019 indoor season I popped a big PR in the 60m and ran my first ever hurdle race. My coach, Fred, immediately emailed Coach Mueller, and the possibility of attending Duke became an exciting reality. So for about 2 months I was torn, do I attend an Ivy (Columbia was the first choice) and get the best education the United States can offer, or do I go to Duke. After countless debates with friends and parents, I came to the realization that, Duke provides a top tier education, and is in an excellent athletics conference. It was the best of both worlds, the best of my worlds, so I simply couldn't refuse Coach Mueller when he gave me the call asking if I was ready to be a Blue Devil!
Q) What do you plan to study at Duke?
I've been accepted into Duke's psychology program, so psychology is my undergraduate major. I plan on obtaining a B.S. in Psychology, and then attend medical school to eventually become a pediatrician or a child psychiatrist.
Q) What got you into track and field in the first place?
My parents made me, and I say made because I was the laziest child, run recreational track from fourth to seventh grade. Recreational track involved a lot more of me crying and hiding than it did running, so upon entering high school track, I had a hate/love (with no love in actuality) relationship with track and field. Freshman and Sophomore year of high school was a balance between basketball and track. However, when I realized I kind of sucked at basketball, and sucked a bit less at track, I decided to phase out basketball and just focus on track. I knew that if I wanted any chance of running in college I would need to find a club team in order to train year round. After running with a distance club for a few months, and realizing I definitely was not a distance runner, I found Angel Flight through a friend. The club team became my second family, as we bonded through our mutual blood, sweat, and tears put into each workout. My track team got me into track and field, but more importantly Coach Fred Van Remortel had a greater impact. I entered the track world very late, with minimal training, but some natural talent, and no one pushed me or believed in me more than Coach Fred. I wouldn't be where I am today without Coach Fred forcing me to be the best athlete, academician, and general human being I could, so I can honestly say Coach Fred is the reason I "got into" track and field.
Q) You've had success in everything from the 55 on up to the 400, what is your favorite event and why?
Before hurdles, I would've said the 400 was my favorite, it's a mental battle more than a physical one, and there's nothing more revealing about the kind of person you are than the last 100 meters of a 400 meter dash. However, I always loved watching my teammate and role model, Jaiden Paris, run hurdles, looking like an absolute beast, so I was just itching to try the hurdles at least once. Right before the indoor season of senior year, Coach Wayne had everyone try hurdle drills at practice, and even though I was terrified I'd fall on my face, Coach Wayne said "dive and whip your lead leg down", and I did just that, and in a day I was a hurdler! However, the real reason I love the hurdles is because they make me feel powerful; if my small little self can get over physical hurdles, I can get over any hurdle in life.
Q) You've consistently made huge gains each year, what would you attribute to your improvements?
Coach Fred. His psychotic (but in reality very well planned) workouts and constant work on my mental strength have been the sole reason I improve each year.
Q) What event do you see yourself focusing on at Duke?
Honestly, I'll do whatever Coach Mueller asks me to do, but most likely hurdles and the shorter sprints.
Q) Could you share any goals you have for the upcoming track season?
Top three in all my events for state!!!
Q) What would your favorite high school moment be (so far)?
Hands down the day I found my club track team, which is to say the chilly September day sophomore year when no one on the team showed up to the hill practice, I puked in front of Coach Wayne, and he still allowed me to come back to regular practice and meet some of my favorite individuals in the world!