Big 12 Indoor Track and Field spotlight: Will Paine
Feb. 26, 2009
Junior pole vaulter Will Paine has steadily improved over his first two seasons as a Longhorn. After finishing his first indoor season with a personal best of 16-4.75, Paine increased that mark to 17-0.75 as a sophomore, at the same time earning his first indoor All-Big 12 honor.
Paine also has progressed during the outdoor season, increasing his personal best from 16-7.25 as a freshman to 17-0.75 as a sophomore. He earned All-Big 12 honors both years, tying for eighth in his first season and improving to a fourth-place finish in year two.
On how his season has been going so far: It started off kind of slow. I jumped 16-3 and then 5.05 twice and just now jumped 5.20. It's been improving throughout the year. It came together pretty well this week, which is good going into conference. The plan is to get over 5.35, and if I get there in a first or second attempt, I think it'll be pretty good. Then, I'll qualify for nationals. I'm not really looking ahead to nationals yet. It's all about this weekend.
On what strategies he has used this year: I've trained a whole lot harder this year than I did last year and I think that's helped. I think going in and just being really focused, just being that much more focused than the competition should put me ahead.
On what has been different about his training this year: I've done a lot more lifting, so I'm just stronger this year and that's made all the difference. Strength turns into speed out on the track. Our weight coach Trey (Zepeda) has put together some good stuff this year for us. It's been good.
On becoming acclimated to being a college athlete: It's taken a while. It takes a lot of getting used to. Academics here at UT are no slouch, it's tough. Juggling everything is just now starting to come together.
On being a veteran now: Being older and seeing new guys come in, I see that was me. I look at it like I need to be that guy people look to. I'm not really there yet. It's all about the team, I'm trying to get better for the team, score points and be an example for the younger guys.
On Mario Sategna: He's really helped with getting me on bigger sticks, which in turn will help you jump higher. When I got here, my run was nothing compared to where it is now and Mario has helped me with that 100 percent. In the offseason and in the fall, he put together some good stuff and it's made me stronger and faster. He's been good.
On being stronger and faster this year than ever before: This year, my first couple meets I wasn't really trusting it. Like I said earlier, Mario has really helped in getting me to trust my speed and use it. At the beginning of the year, I was jumping like I did last year, I wasn't noticing that I was stronger and faster. It's a process, but I'm starting to feel and use the benefits of the extra strength and speed.
On competition: It's all about the team. You've got guys counting on you to put it together. That helps you strive to do better. You've just got to get it done.
On what is going through his head before an attempt: Mostly going through my head is, first attempt, let's hit it on the first one, get that first bar out and then it's fun. It's let's go to work, let's score some points.
On being older and persevering through missed attempts: I had quite a few mental heights last year. It's taken a long time to work through that. Last year, if I missed a first attempt, I started stressing out. Mario and a bunch of people actually helped me if I missed. They'd say, 'Okay, what did I do wrong? Let's get focused.' I'll get on the runway and I'll think, 'Now I've got it. We're ready to go', and it's been good. You've got to think about all the training you've done. You know it's there, you just have to be confident in the work you put in.
On Maston Wallace: If Maston wasn't here, I wouldn't be anywhere near the level of competition I am right now. It would be way different. I think we both push each other in everything we do. It's like we compete with each other every day. He's a national champion; it's competing with the best guy in the NCAA every day.
On how he got into pole vaulting: In seventh or eighth grade, we were doing football offseason. One of the coaches came up to me and said, 'Hey, come run track,' and I didn't want to run, so I saw somebody pole vaulting and I wanted to do that, so now I'm here.
On being a pole vaulter: You've got to be strong, fast, crazy, I guess. It's a number of things. It's definitely the most fun thing to do in track and field. I've tried everything and I can't see myself doing anything else.