Women's Track
Anderson, Williams lead Commodores into SECs

Vanderbilt senior Brionne Williams.Vanderbilt senior Brionne Williams.

Feb. 26, 2014

The SEC Indoor Championships are set to start on Thursday in College Station, Texas, and the Vanderbilt track team is carrying high expectations and lofty goals into the event.

Head coach Steve Keith believes the Commodores are potentially primed for a memorable weekend in the Lone Star state after seeing his team spend the past several months preparing for this significant stage of the season.

Competing against some of the top performers in the nation, many of the athletes on the Vanderbilt roster will be looking to lock down NCAA-qualifying times, heights or distances, which puts an added level of importance on this weekend's event.

Vanderbilt seniors Liz Anderson and Brionne Williams are both expected to make a big impact this weekend, and vucommodores.com sat down with each of them to discuss the trip to College Station. Here is what they had to say.

Liz Anderson

On her mindset going into weekend ...
I feel like I'm ready. I always like to look at Indoors as a springboard into outdoor. So I'm definitely not in peak shape, but I'm in Indoor shape. I'm excited. There should be a pretty good group of girls in my race from all different schools. There'll be a good pack up front and I just hope to be able to compete and run with them. I feel good, ready to go.

About the competition she's faced this season and will face this weekend ...
The race in Washington (two weeks ago) was a completely different animal. That was nationally-ranked girls. So that was good. But as far as SEC competition goes, it's by far the best. And in the 5K it'll be the best (competition) I've seen. (Washington) prepared me well for the competition that I'll see at SEC. Just to be able to compete and be up there will be fun.

About having to wait until Saturday for event ...
Ideally, I'd like to run a little sooner. But the cool thing about SECs is that it is SECs. The atmosphere is incredible. You have Olympians getting world records. Like the camaraderie of it all is really good. I just hope to spend a couple of days at the track to soak up the whole atmosphere. That'll be fun and just cheer on my teammates. If anything, I hope they run races that get me pumped up for mine. ... I'll definitely have time to think about my race.

On her emotions as a senior ...
Because we have outdoor, I know that (this) is not the end. And recently I decided to stay here another year, so it will not be my last time. ... (But) it will be the last time with this group of girls. We are such a young team that really not much is changing. ... I'm kind of thankful that it's not my last one. I'd probably be in a different emotional state right now.

On the advantages of being a senior and having been involved in the SEC Championships before ...
The competition is different every year. I'm less nervous than I was a freshman and sophomore. The nerves side and the mental state that I'm in is probably an advantage, but physically it doesn't matter how old you are. You've still got to do it. There are a lot of young girls who are awesome. Mentally, I just enjoy being there. The nerves don't get to me as much as the excitement. I love the girls and it's fun to be there.

Brionne Williams

Regarding he mindset going into weekend ...
I'm really excited. I can't believe it's already here, first of all. My last Indoor SECs. It's a big deal to me because Indoor is my favorite. I know I'm prepared. ... I'm excited to see what i can do. I'm No. 4 right now in the SEC but if I could finish top three that would be amazing.

On this being her final time at the Championships ...
I've tried not to think about that part of it too much. Maybe Friday night before competition, I'll think about it (by) taking some time to myself. But it's a big deal. I've worked really hard up to this point. It's been four years and I feel like I'm finally ready to go out and show them who I am and who I'm representing.

On where she think the level of her performance is right now ...
I got lucky last weekend. I think I had a frustrating first couple of meets. But I jumped big last weekend at Tyson. I think that was a big confidence booster. Definitely, mentally, it took the weight off of my shoulders. Since I know that I am capable, I would say I'm there mentally now.

On the atmosphere at the SEC event ...
I feel like SECs you can feel it in the air: all the tension, all the excitement. People buzzing all around. People running around. It's crazy. It's fun, though, but it's crazy.

About dealing with pressure ...
I think the pressure is good. There's a lot weighing on this meet. Not just the competition in the conference. Right now, I'm in the last spot for the NCAA meet so if I have a really good meet here at the SECs then that will secure my spot at the national meet. And that's the ultimate goal for me right now: to make it to nationals.

On her expectations for the team ...
I am so excited to see everyone compete. I think we'll probably put up the best score that I've seen here at Vanderbilt and probably that we've had in the past eight years or so. There are scoring opportunities in every event we put a girl in. So I'm really excited about that and to be able to see the Vanderbilt name on that scoreboard.


 

 

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