Q&A with Track and Field Sophomore Victoria Howard

Feb. 15, 2007

LAWRENCE, Kan. –

Recently, sophomore Victoria Howard sat down with the media relations staff to discuss the upcoming Big 12 Indoor Championships on Feb. 23-24, in Ames, Iowa. At the Tyson Invitational on Feb. 9, Howard set a new KU record in the women’s indoor 200 meters, finishing the event in a time of 24.03 seconds. As the Big 12 meet looms, Howard is eager to make her mark on the conference and hopefully advance to the national level.

Q: How has the indoor season gone for you thus far?
A: It went a lot better than it did last year. Last year I was a freshman so I was just trying to get used to the training and everything else. This year, I was more focused on what I needed to get done and what I needed to get accomplished and it paid off.

Q: How did it feel to set the new Kansas record in the indoor 200-meter dash at the Tyson Invitational?
A: It felt good. It was a great accomplishment. Coach Elisha Brewer believed that I could get that record, but she also believes I can provisionally qualify for nationals, so that is where I really want to be.

Q: How have you enjoyed working with Coach Brewer?
A: I really enjoy working with Coach Brewer. Coach Brewer is a really big inspiration to me because she was also a really good track and field runner. It helps to have a coach who believes in you and helps you. She watches video to see what I am doing wrong and what I am doing right and gives me positive feedback. She just helps me work on the things I need to work on to become a better athlete.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Big 12 Indoor Championships and what are you looking to accomplish in Ames ?
A: I want to score and contribute to the team. On a personal level, I really want to be in the final and run with the best of them because I think I can. As a team, I think that the women’s team has a chance to do very well in the Big 12. We have Ashley Brown in the 60-meter hurdles and Sha’Ray Butler in the 400 meters and we all have a pretty good chance of doing well.

Q: Describe what goes into a sprinter’s mentality before a big race?
A: Sprinting is more of a confidence thing. You always have to think explosiveness and be quick off the block because the race is pretty much over as soon as you get off the blocks. I just try to think explosiveness and I listen to music and just focus, concentrate, warm up and think quick.

Q: Who have you looked to as the team leader?
A: The girls that I came in with, Charity Stowers and Sha’Ray Butler, we are all the same age and we all have the same mind frame. I look up to them because they know where I’m coming from. As far as upper classmen, Ashley Brown has been in my group since last year. I look up to her as well because she has had a lot of injuries. She’s had to overcome a lot of things and she is always encouraging. She and Sha’Ray are both team captains in my group.

Q: Being a local product, what do the Kansas Relays mean to you?
A: It’s always nice to have a home meet in your back yard . It’s a warm atmosphere and I really enjoy running at the KU Relays.

Q: What event do you really want to try just once?
A: I would say the high jump. I always joke with Coach Tom Hays about how I will come jump for him because he’s a good coach. I used to do it in high school but not anymore. So I would like to be a high jumper.

Q: What are your goals for the outdoor season?
A: I had a disappointing outdoor season last year, so I think I can place in conference this year. I hope to keep shaving time off my 200 meter time. My ultimate goal is to make it to regionals and nationals. I did not get to run the 100 meters much last year, so as long as I keep working on my foot speed and the technical aspects, I think I can do well in the event, possibly score at conference.

Q: What is the difference, if any, between the indoor and outdoor seasons?
A: I think the indoor season is more stressful than the outdoor season. We train for so long up until the indoor season with hard cross-training. Also, the indoor season is a lot more mental because indoors, the 200 meters is one lap while outdoors it is just half a lap. I am more used to outdoor because I’ve been running track since I was four.

– KU –