Q&A with Bev Kearney
With one meet down and six more weeks of indoor competition remaining for the Texas women's track and field, head coach Bev Kearney has a lot in store for the 2007 season. Prior to last Friday's Leonard Hilton Memorial Meet, Kearney sat down with TexasSports.com to preview the season.
This year's group is more balanced in all areas. What are your expectations of the 2007 squad? My expectations of the student-athletes are to perform to the best of their ability. Our overall goal is to maximize the all. We don't have one or two people who can carry the bulk of the points so it's going to be imperative this year that we score across the board. We carry the weight of the program with more personnel than normal. This is one of those groups that can lead by example and lead when we need, as opposed to one individual being the leader. Everyone brings strengths from one area to the other.
Is there a newcomer that will immediately have a significant impact? We have Chauntae Bayne -- who technically is a veteran -- coming in to compete in her final season of eligibility. We hope some of the freshmen, in Devon Williams and Betzy Jimenez, come in and do a very good job of making that transition. We have a lot of people on our team returning who did not perform to their ability last year and will become the new face of Texas.
Sophomore sprinter Alexandria Anderson extended her season to August, competing for the U.S. Junior Track and Field team. How did the extra training help her prepare for her sophomore season? I think the experience benefited her in that it gave her more things that she needs to do. She comes in as a wiser more experienced athlete as a result of the success and failures she experienced while competing with the junior team.
Senior thrower Michelle Carter and sophomore high jumper Destinee Hooker anchor the field events as returning national champions and All-Americans. How well rounded is the field events area this year and who do you anticipate rising to the national level in terms of competition? Definitely Michelle and Destinee are our veterans. It's an odd phrase to use for Destinee because she's so young but she comes in with a veteran-like mentality towards her event. Michelle is on a mission. The only thing I can say about our entire field event area is that they are all on a mission. Alex (Anderson) is on a mission to prove that she can jump. Ashley (Laughlin) and Anne (Phillips) are on a mission to prove that they can vault. The field events are more about jumps, throws and vaults. What you're going to see is a surprise element in terms of what can become the one of the stronger foundations of our team this year. All the areas have that mission and we're building that confidence.
Cross country had a strong first season under new assistant coach Steve Sisson and should be in good shape for track and field season. How will they transition into the spring season? They gained a lot of experience during the fall and the newcomers have a one up on the rest of team because they've already competed at the conference level. We have a lot of talent that will join them from the middle distance area which will give them a 1-2 punch in that area. We have a lot of talent that will carry over from cross and create a stronger structure for the team in terms of scoring.