Michelle Newblom from the Seattle University Track and Field team hit the ground running this past weekend at the Ken Shannon invitational meet at the University of Washington. Newblom ran a phenomenal 100m hurdle race with a wind-legal time of 14.78 seconds, finishing first in her heat. The time that Newblom posted broke the 42-year-old school record and also earned her the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week. With WAC track and field conference this upcoming week, Newblom’s time put her in the top ten in the conference, a good position to make it to finals.
CL: How long have you been running track?
MN: I started doing track sophomore year of high school. I didn’t take it very seriously at first, I used to play soccer and the track coach saw me running and recruited me, so I just played around and did it for fun. My junior year, I started doing the 100m hurdles and realized I was kind of good at it, so junior year is when I started hurdling.
CL: How did you get into the 100m hurdles?
MN: It was actually kind of weird. My sophomore year, I did one 100m hurdle race because we were at a meet and one of our girls didn’t want to run their 100m hurdle race, so I actually just stepped in and pretended to be her and ran them for fun. I did really bad, it was awful, but then I realized that it was kind of fun to not just run in a straight line but also to jump over things in the meantime.
CL: Why did you pick track over soccer?
MN: It’s nice to do an individual sport that’s still a team sport. My results are based off how well I do, but I’m still a part of a team. We all support each other, we’re all still trying to get points for the team. In soccer, you do have to rely on other people, and I guess I’m kind of an independent person. I also think that I started to get better at track then at soccer and it seemed like it would be easier to get recruited for track.
CL: How did it feel when you found out that you broke a 42-year-old school record here at Seattle U?
MN: I didn’t realize it until about five hours later when I saw that GoSeattleU posted the article saying that I broke the record. I was confused because I didn’t think that I did, so I texted my coach and was like “Hey, why are they saying I broke the record?” and he basically replied, “Because you did.” I just wasn’t expecting that.
CL: What has been your favorite memory so far here at Seattle University, either athletically wise or school wise?
MN: Well, at the Ken Shannon meet last year, I fell during my hurdle race and posted an awful time. So, to come back and at the same meet and break the record, that was good redemption. But aside from the record, any time spent with my team is always so fun. One of our team bonding nights, we all got together and watched scary movies. Of course, the guys got more scared then the girls, but my teammate Renee and I were pretty scared too and it was spring break so no one was in the dorms. I was going to stay the night in her dorm and we were making popcorn, and I accidently burnt it and set the fire alarm off. It’s just always laughs when our team is together and I’m glad to be part of such a close-knit team.
CL: What are you expecting out of conference this week? What are your goals?
MN: I’m really hoping to drop some more times, so technically break my record again. I feel like there are some things that I could have improved on towards the end of my race. It was definitely my fastest and best race by far, but I still think that I could do better. I’m also ranked 10th in the WAC right now, so I do have a shot at finals. My goal is to definitely run around the same time and if that could put me into finals, that would be great.
CL: Who is your biggest track inspiration that you look up to?
MN: I watch a lot of track videos, I love watching the Olympics and everybody’s races. Sally Pearson—she’s an Australian hurdler and does the 100m hurdles—she’s definitely one of my favorite athletes that I look up to. She spends the least amount of times over the hurdles and just makes it look so easy and she’s a very fast 100m runner. I also love Lolo Jones because she’s really great and funny as a person and also seeing someone like Sydney McLaughlin, even though she is in the 400m hurdles, seeing someone that young perform so tremendously and make it to the Olympics is really inspiring.
CL: What is your favorite thing to do besides hurdling?
MN: I guess I don’t have a lot of free time, but aside from track I like reading. I also work for WAG, a dog-walking service, so you can catch me either walking someone’s dog or with a book.
Editor’s note: Michelle Newblom is the Spectator’s Sports Editor.
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