Q&A with NCAA Champion Michelle Carter
Hitting the NCAA automatic mark three times this season to secure the chance to defend her 2006 NCAA shot put title, senior Michelle Carter (Ovilla, Texas) sat down with TexasSports.com for a few minutes to reflect back to her National Championship performance.
How did it feel to collect your first NCAA title last season? Prior to the win, I just told myself to just go out there and do what I do best. So when I actually won, I was very excited. I have always wanted to win. I have been second a few times and it was really good to finally be first.
What was your mindset as you stepped up to throw the winning throw? The athlete who was in second place threw right before me. I led the whole time and then she stepped up and all of sudden was in first place. So I knew I had to step up my game in order to win the National Championship.
What advice were you given prior to entering the finals for your event? My coaches just told me to relax, stay calm, and go out there and compete.
How was it competing against Olympian, two-time National Champion and former North Carolina thrower Laura Gerraughty (NCAA collegiate, Randal Tyson Track and Field Center record-holder)? I knew what she was capable of doing, but then I also knew what I was capable of doing so I didn't focus on her. I knew that if I performed to the best of my abilities, it didn't matter what she did because I knew I was going to do well regardless.
How did it feel to have your team leading after one day at the championships? It was exciting just to know that you helped with that team victory. The outdoor season before that was the season I finished in second. So to come back and win feels a lot better. This time I got to contribute 10 points to my team as opposed to eight points.
Do you remember what the environment was like? It was the last indoor meet for some of my teammates or their last indoor meet ever. Everybody was focused, because you have nothing to lose at nationals. We knew that no one out there works harder than we do. We knew we had to come out here, stay focused, practice hard, and run are game.
Was there a difference in the team, between going and coming to Arkansas? Going to the meet, everybody was kind of focused and quiet. However, coming back everyone was loud, excited, and relaxed. You know everyone had been focusing on the meet the entire trip, so after the meet we had the chance to relax, enjoy the environment, and enjoy the title.
What was the memorable thing about the trip to Arkansas for you (besides the title)? Knowing that everyone was happy and everyone was excited was the most memorable thing to me. Even if some of us felt we did not do that well, we knew that we contributed in some aspect. It was a nice environment for us and we just could not believe that we won. We knew that we could win but then when it all came down to it, it was amazing because we won with just seven people. No one was expecting us to win, but we knew we always had a shot at winning with the people we had on our team plus we were in a lot of events. We were the underdogs coming and we ended up taking it all at the end of the meet.
With whom did you room in Arkansas? I roomed with Hollywood, also know as LaTasha Kerr. She was my roommate for the past two years, because we know how each other works. I miss her being my roommate.
If you could describe in one word the team's reaction to another NCAA team title what would it be? Relief. The people on the team have always been capable of winning a title, but every year something goes wrong. We either get disqualified from an event or something just does not go as planned. We always knew for sure that we were going to win it, but just as quickly as we had that thought, something bad would happen and we could never quite take the title home. So when we actually won it we were like, "It's about time. We knew we could do it, but we had to wait this long to do it." So everybody was relieved that we finally got this National Championship.