is an American 400 hurdler and University of Florida Alumni. Some of her accomplishments include being SEC Champion in the DMR, NCAA All-American, 5th Fastest time in school history in 400H.
What’s your story?
My senior year in high school, I was ranked top 5 in the nation and after much consideration, I decide to attended the University of Florida with high hopes of continued success. I was fairly new to running the hurdles and felt that I had an immense amount of potential. Unfortunately, my entire collegiate career plagued with injuries. I injured my knee my freshman year, which resulted in cartilage damage and instability. Another season, I tore my hamstring (on the same leg). Despite my knee, that worsened every season, I stayed motivated and ended up with a decent amount of success!
Once my collegiate eligibility ended, I finally able to have the surgery to fix my knee. My surgery was actually scheduled for the same week I was suppose to compete at the USA trials. It took 6 months for my knee to heal and about a year before I was comfortable and my knee to be back to normal. Mentally, however, I was all over the place because I felt that I never quite lived up to my potential. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to come back to the sport despite my love for it. My spirit felt unsure and a little broken because the environment I was in wasn’t exactly nurturing for a comeback. I was very discouraged about not being able to put things together after I came back from injury. I even considered giving up the sport completely. Around this time, I had close friends talk to me about keeping the faith and one suggested that I look into Altis. He expressed to me that it was just what I needed to rekindle my love for the possibilities in the sport. Altis believed in me enough to bring me here, and it has been the best decision I’ve ever made!
When it seems like things are falling apart you have to keep going because you just might be on the verge of a breakthrough.
How was your experience becoming NCAA All-American?
Becoming an NCAA All-American was one of the highlights of my collegiate career. The moment was not so much surprising because it was something that I strived for but it was kind of overwhelming. I could finally see my hard work coming into fruition. There was nothing like that feeling of accomplishing something I felt I deserved despite the bumps in the road along the journey. Happiness at that moment is an understatement, but it also pushed me to work harder to leap to new heights. I felt accomplished because it’s not something everyone can say they experienced. I was the first one to earn this honor in my family and I felt really proud to stamp my name in the UF history books and help my team thrive.
What is your mindset going into the Olympic year?
My mindset going into this year is unlike it’s ever been before. The fact that it’s an Olympic year makes the stakes higher, but I don’t feel any pressure about that. I honestly feel that being in this camp surrounded with such great teammates and such a supportive, caring, knowledgeable coaching and support staff makes me equipped to succeed this season. I’m motivated by this Olympic year, but I’m at peace about the possibilities and overall feel good about being at my best at the right time.
Altis believed in me enough to bring me here, and it has been the best decision I’ve ever made.
How is your training going so far?
My training is going great so far. I have new coaching and the approach is extremely different from what I’m used to. It’s refreshing to be in such a customized program. I feel that the coaching staff believes in me. I can tell a lot of thought is put into the training plan and I trust the process. It honestly has me in such a peaceful space that I don’t feel rushed to be at a certain point at a certain time, I just know things will come together. That’s what makes Altis such a beautiful place for me. I’m happy God put me here.
Advice to Young Athletes?
If I could tell younger athletes anything from my experiences it would be to never lose faith and never give up. When it seems like things are falling apart you have to keep going because you just might be on the verge of a breakthrough. Follow your dreams. You can still be everything you want to be.
Follow your dreams. You can still be everything you want to be.
I suggest for everyone to do Yoga or Eldoa exercises to help with flexibility and stability. We do Eldoa exercises after practice and I have found them to be very beneficial.
Thank you for Reading and Please check out Next Weeks Feature Friday with American 400 meter Runner, Vanessa Jones!!
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