Q&A with Track and Field Senior Janiece Gatson

Feb. 7, 2007


Recently, senior Janiece Gatson sat down with the media relations staff to discuss the ongoing indoor track and field season. So far, the season has been quite successful for Gatson as she set a new personal best in the 600-yard run (1:23.22) and currently ranks second among Big 12 women in the event. As the team prepares to participate in the ISU Classic, hosted at the same site as the Big 12 Indoor Championships, Gatson is ready to make her final year with KU track and field a memorable one.

Q: How has the season gone for you and for the team thus far?
A: Personally, I feel I have done very well this season. I set a new PR in the 600-yard run, which is my main event during the indoor season and I’ve been running well as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team. As a team, I think everyone is doing well. I think the Husker Invitational was a good indication of how well the team is meshing. Everyone is really stepping up in their events.

Q: Can you talk about your preparation in running the 600-yard run?
A: Mentally, I am trying to just relax and remind myself to run my own race. There are a lot of ways that you can run the event: you can try and go out fast and hang on, or you can hang with the crowd and try and out-kick everyone else. I also remind myself to trust myself and trust the work I have done in practice. As far as my ranking, it feels great, but I know I still need to improve on my time to actually place second at conference because there are a lot of schools who do not run the event until that meet. Plus, Iowa State has a 300 meter track which should equate to faster times.

Q: What have you learned from Coach Redwine in your four years at KU?
A: I have learned that not only do I have to trust him, I have to trust myself also. I think that is a big part of track and field. We all do well in practice and when we get to the meet, we have to trust what our coaches believe we are capable of accomplishing.

Q: What have been your impressions so far of the newcomers and freshmen class?
A: It helps a lot when people come in and compete well right off the bat instead of having to wait a year or two for them to become comfortable in intercollegiate athletics. The first person that pops into my head is Britany Parker and she has been doing awesome. It helps to know that we can count on those people as soon as they come here and count on them at conference, regionals and nationals.

Q: Can you describe your participation on the 4×400 meter relay team?
A: I have ran the anchor leg at every meet this season except at the Husker Invitational, where I ran the second leg. I used to think anchor was the most nerve-racking leg because a lot of the pressure of doing well and making up ground falls on you. Yet when I ran the second leg in Lincoln, I was just as nervous. I wanted to move our team up a position. I think every leg is nerve-racking, but I think we all need to run fast together. I also think we have practiced our baton hand-offs more this year than any other year except my freshman season.

Q: Who do you look to as a leader on the team?
A: I don’t know if there is a particular person, but I have to trust Coach Redwine and what he says. I always run the second day of the event, so just watching the people compete on the first day can inspire me to do my best and shoot for a PR. In Lincoln, this was especially true, as Ashley Brown and Sha’Ray Butler both ran PRs in their respective events. I felt like everyone else was doing well and now it was my time to step up. Being a senior, I feel like I have to set the tone for the team as well.

Q: How do you feel about this upcoming meet, the ISU Classic?
A: I am running the 400 meters and Coach Redwine wants me to run a fast time as it relates to my 600-yard run time because the 600 is 550 meters. He wants me to go fast in the open 400 so I can go faster in the 600-yard run. I would definitely like to set a new personal best in the 400 meters and participate well on the 4×400-meter relay.

Q: What is your favorite track and field event to watch?
A: This is a hard question. I would have to say any of the field events. I think it is so much different than the races because you get three or six attempts in each event and so you can go back and forth in the standings. I see it as more of a competition than just one all-out race.

Q: What would be the one event that you would like to try?
A: I would say the 60-meter hurdles. I run the 400-meter hurdles during the outdoor season. I think it would a challenge for me and provide lots of turnover. That would be fun and very different to go from the 400-meter hurdles to the 60 or 100-meter hurdles.

Q: What are your plans after time your time at KU is over?
A: I graduated in December and I am sticking around for graduate school to complete my fourth year of eligibility. I plan on continuing graduate school at KU in sports administration and also work as a volunteer with the track and field team next year. I don’t know so much about coaching in the future, but I think that is why I am pursuing a graduate degree in sports administration. I don’t want to give up the athletics, so whatever that involves, I am for it.

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