What Was Said: 2018 NCAA DI Indoor T&F Championships Press Conference

The 2018 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships start tomorrow afternoon in College Station at the Gilliam Indoor Stadium.

Thirty-six national champions will be crowned over the span of two days: 30 individuals, four relay teams and the all-important team champions.

Today, however, was for talking – at the pre-meet press conference, to be exact.

Here is one quote from each of the athletes and coaches present.

Texas Tech coach Wes Kittley

On what winning a national title would mean to his program: “It would be the first men’s national championship for Texas Tech. I can’t say I wouldn’t love to be a part of that. For this group that’s been with me – this has been my 19th season – we’ve been building that program ever since I’ve been there. I think Texas Tech deserves it and I would love to able to bring that thing home.”

Southern California coach Caryl Smith Gilbert

On what winning a national title would mean to her programs: “It would mean a tremendous amount for the USC men and women, because track & field is tradition. The shield logo is only for track & field at USC. It would be a great accomplishment for me, personally. I would be the first woman to win the men’s side and the [third] woman, I guess, Power 5 to win at all. It would be a phenomenal accomplishment in my opinion.”

Georgia coach Petros Kyprianou

On what winning a national title would mean to his programs: “The fact that Georgia is even in the conversation makes me really proud. We’ve been knocking on the door a few times and got close. We’ll give it all we have. I know my boys and girls are ready to go. It would make me the first foreign coach to win one, if that happens. It really doesn’t matter. I want to see my young men and women giving everything they got. That’s what I’ve been preaching from Day 1.”

Arkansas coach Lance Harter

On the parity in the women’s team race this year: “There are multiple teams that are all a threat to win on any given day. There are probably six or eight teams that can be on the podium on any given day. It’s just a matter of who can expedite their respective race plans and keep their composure in the heat of the battle.”

Texas A&M coach Pat Henry

On if we’ll see a fast time in the men’s 4×400 on Saturday: “All it takes is one bump. One good bump and it changes the time quickly. If someone breaks off and runs real clean or if two or three teams run clean, then I think it could be a very, very fast meet. I don’t think you go out there to run times. I think you go out to win the track meet and the race and what happens is what happens. It’s not about how fast you run. It’s about whether or not they win the race or not. That’s college track.”

Florida sophomore Grant Holloway

On taking it to the next level: “I just feel like Coach Holloway and I have been holding back so much. I keep asking Coach Holloway, ‘When can I hit the button? When can I hit the button?’ He’s like, ‘Not yet. Not yet.’ Probably tomorrow at the long jump I’ll ask him again when I can hit the button and whenever he says I can hit the button, I’m going to try to do what I can do best, because you never know what could be your last meet. I’m going to leave it all on the track and see what happens.”

Florida coach Mike Holloway

On if he’ll let Grant loose: “Grant is an incredible competitor and for those of you who don’t know him, he’s very hyper I’ll say. I have to do a good job of keeping him even keel and if I let him push the button he’ll push it every day and he’ll be exhausted – but I’ll let him push it this weekend.”

Kentucky freshman Sydney McLaughlin

On what has surprised her about the jump from high school to college practice: “Underestimating the difficulty of hurdling. When you’re in high school, you can take things as a joke and you can go through practice and whatever – because it’s not serious. When you get to the level of training with Kori Carter, Keni Harrison and Omar McLeod – and they’re doing things perfectly and you look like you’re five years old, it’s definitely a mental challenge. As my race progresses and as I progress with Coach Flo, it’s definitely something I need to buckle down on and get serious about.”

New Mexico sophomore Josh Kerr

On how expectations from others have changed since he won the mile last year: “They’ve definitely changed, because everybody knows who I am. Other than that, mentally I’m relaxed. I’m enjoying myself. I’m having a great time with it and staying relaxed coming in. It’s a lot of fun when you’re walking and everybody is looking at you, so I’m enjoying it.”

Texas Tech senior Trey Culver

On the competitive nature of the high jump: “When you’re in the competition, you have to be the last one to clear the highest bar. That’s always the goal. Whenever you see him (Vernon Turner) clear a bar, that’s motivation that I got to clear it – or if I’m in front of him, then I know I got to set that tone and let him know that I’ll clear it. I love competing against him … It’s amazing. It’s definitely pushed me this whole season having a guy like that in the nation going right at it with him.”

Georgia senior Keturah Orji

On her key to improvement in the triple jump: “The key was really learning about triple jump and its technique. I really learned how my arms should move, how to carry my speed throughout and how my contact should be. Learning more about the event and how my body should be moving during the event has really helped me progress.”

Missouri senior Karissa Schweizer

On choosing to double in the 3000-5000 and not triple (adding the mile): “I love the mile and I wish I could run it as well, but knowing that the 3K and the 5K are going to be such high-level-competition races and just really putting all that into those races and gearing up for my best races to be executed there.”