May 3, 2012
Poole paces ‘Cats to MIAA Championships
By David Boyce
In one sense, Northwest Missouri State senior Brittany Poole might feel the pressure of defending her 3,000 meter steeplechase crown in the MIAA.
In another sense, Poole could enter the MIAA Track and Field Championships at Emporia State a bit nervous. For the first time all season, she will compete in her signature event, the steeplechase and a couple of hours later, run the 5,000 meter.
Those are two grueling races within a few hours of each other.
However, the overriding emotion you get from Poole when she talks about this weekend’s conference meet is excitement.
A week ago at the Drake Relays, Poole took 23 seconds off her personal best in the steeplechase and finished with a time of 10:31.13. The automatic qualifying time for the NCAA Division II national meet is 10:35.
“It is a big stress reliever that I was able to hit the automatic qualifying mark just because last year I was the first girl not to get picked to go to nationals,” Poole said. “That was really hard to swallow.
“It has been my goal since last year. All my hard work is starting to pay off which is nice to see.”
The national meet is May 24-26 in Pueblo, Colo.
Obviously, Poole is thinking about the conference championship. The Bearcats will compete on Saturday and Sunday.
“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “We have all been training really hard. This is when coach is really peaking us. We should put up good times and marks in field events. I’m excited to see what myself and the team does.”
Poole will have a lot of time to think about her races. Her events are Sunday. She said the waiting will not bother her.
“I like being around the competition,” Poole said. “It helps me to focus and kind of go through my race in my head and visualize where I want to be at certain spots in a race. I think it is fun to cheer on all my teammates the day before I run and watch them perform to the best of their ability.”
When it comes her time to run, expect Poole to be ready.
“Definitely being the favorite going into the meet, there is some pressure,” she said. “Like last year, I will not let that bother me. I will just focus on being relaxed and not worrying about where the competition is at. That is my plan. I’m not going to let any pressure or anything get in the way of what I would like to accomplish for myself.”
Poole is a competitor who thinks ahead. A year ago, she said her time wasn’t as good as other times earlier in the season because the heat drained her and a lot of the athletes.
On Tuesday, she had already checked the weather forecast for Emporia for the weekend.
“I’ve seen that it is supposed to be hot,” she said. “I will have to keep myself hydrated throughout the week and really recover well after my steeple to run a good time and score some points for my team in the 5,000.
“We are also looking at it as an opportunity to get a couple of races back-to-back because at the national meet, if I make it to the finals, I will have the prelims one day and the finals the next day. We are looking at it as training for my body to do a quick turnaround just in case I do qualify for the finals at nationals.”
No matter what happens at the MIAA Championships, Poole knows she’s going to the national meet.
“Definitely, a weight lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “All season I checked the national list just to see where I was at and try to determine if you are going to go. Now that I hit the automatic mark, it is very stress relieving. I can just focus on myself the next couple of weeks and really try to get some good runs in and training so I’m ready when the national meet gets here.”
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