6/17-18 -- Quotes from PA athletes at Nike Outdoor Nationals

Quotes from 11 PA athletes following their performances at the 2005 Nike Outdoor Nationals.

Pat Caulfield, Cedar Cliff

The goal was just for everybody to PR, and wherever that put us, we\'d be happy with. But seeing as we all didn\'t PR, then we didn\'t reach our goal. I hate to say that with this being my last high school race, but we did the best we could under the circumstances, so you can\'t have any regrets for that. There\'s always such a big gap for us between our state meet and this, and it\'s always so tough to regroup and refocus every time, even though we\'ve tried it a couple of times. The training has to restart and rebuild and sometimes the focus gets lost. It was a little easier this time because we had been through it before. We did a lot better this time on the national level than we did in cross. There are some guys coming up (at Cedar Cliff) who could get back here and do better than we did, I hope.

Tim Johnson, Cedar Cliff
We accomplished just about everything we wanted to this year. It could have gone in the other direction, too, so I\'m just happy I made it through and I did OK for myself, just trying to be consistent and getting to go to all the different meets. And this group of guys are like my brothers. I don\'t have any brothers or sisters at home, so these are the guys I wanted to be with all the time. It\'s going to be a tough adjustment without them. It\'s been a great ride.

Meghan Briggs,Palmyra

It\'s a little depressing knowing that Elisha is feeling the same way I did at States, coming in the top seed and then having someone come from behind kind of gets you down, but at the same time, it\'s awesome to take second.

I had been practicing here and there with my coach, and had just taken a week\'s vacation and it was hard coming back from that, I felt great coming through... and my arm didn\'t hurt until the last few throws when my arm started hurting a little bit.

How did you get into the Jav? You look like a half-milers?
That\'s what everyone says, My freshman year, I was running and my coach says try it out, and I ended up throwing 109. And my sophomore year, I got to do it a full year and got third a Districts. So it\'s now my new thing. And I\'m still running, too. My 4x400 and 4x800 went to Districts. Plus pole vault.

Elisha Jones, Eisenhower

This year turned out better than I ever expected. At the beginning of the season I never even dreamed of coming to Nationals and competing. My mechanics were a little bit off today, but it was still a good day.

Is this your sport now? No, my love is basketball.

Discus, Shot Put
Ryan Whiting, Central Dauphin

Probably now the weekend you had in mind, but two second place finishes is still pretty good, right? I guess it\'s OK, but I was not too happy. In the shot yesterday, I was kind of off on my first two throws, and that knocked me off for the whole thing. Usually I get all six in. I think I would have won it if I had had a good first throw. And I was just off a little today, too. That\'s it for high school. Just have to move on, I guess. As for the year, I\'m happy with my shot, but not so happy with disc. College is what matters, though. Next week it goes to the 6k and 1.75 disc , and it should go well if I throw like I practice.

400 Hurdles
Nicole Leach, West Catholic

On getting 2nd but setting a PR: The PR helps, I can\'t be mad. I gave it my best and PRed. I ran exactly the way we planned. I\'ve been training to take 15 steps the first half. I think where we fell short was, I backed off from my strength training. And with graduation and prom and other senior activities, I missed a lot of weeks of practice. We joked about it, but we just figured that I was so much stronger than the rest of the field that if I\'m able to get to 16 steps through the first 200, we\'d be good. But you learn from your mistakes, and hopefully next weekend, come back prepared.

I heard the crowd yelling, and part of me thought it was because I was running a good time, but once I came over the last hurdle and I saw her, i tried to react quick, got caught up in my steps and started tripping. It was too late to react. I just have to take this and learn from it. I would have loved to have won Nationals my last year.

On the week between Nationals and Juniors: Just try to get me back where I was for Penn Relays.

On NJ Junior Krystal Cantey being a rival: Now she is, yeah.

Shot Put
Karen Shump, Penncrest

On the competiton: It was OK today. I got 43, and threw 46, but I fouled. I don\'t have it all together yet. I was seeded 6th coming into this, and I came out 5th, so that\'s not too bad.

On feeling a different level of pressure? Not really. It\'s nice coming out and seeing the competition. I just try to come out and throw my best.

On the season: It\'s been phenominal. I started my indoor season with a 37 and then just worked up from there to my 48. It\'s just been an awesome year.

110 Hurdles
Carrington Queen, Chichester

On the difference in the three weeks since PA States: I think it\'s the training. I\'ve been working on my technique and my start. My start was slow today, but I caught up and came away with a 2nd place medal. I thought I had a chance to come in the top six even though I was seeded like 16th coming in. I didn\'t come all the way from Pennsylvania not to medal.

On the race: When I came off the 3rd hurdle I started coming on and catching Huske. I started thinking I could win this.

High Jump
Ryan Fritz, Octorara

On the conditions and competition: I tried to stay out of the sun because it can take a lot out of you. But when I was jumping, the sun was right in my eyes, and that was hard to overcome. I came in at 6-04.25, went to 6-06.25 and then 6-08.25. My first miss was at 6-10.25, but I cleared on my 2nd attempt. But at 7-00.25 I was just out of gas. I\'ve been training hard, but I have laid back on the weightlifting.

On his facing PA rival Juan Cave, who took 2nd: If I hadn\'t won it, I would have wanted to see him win it.

On his high school career: Actually, this is more than I could have envisioned. I could never have imagined winning nationals, mostly because Scott Sellers was so dominant, but he wasn\'t here. The difference between this year and last year is I am rising to the occasion this year. I used to choke a little bit, but I\'m finally breaking out of that. And I had a steady coach this year. I\'ve had three or four.

High Jump, Triple Jump, Long Jump
Nicole Smith, McDowell

On the competition as a whole, and the end of her high school career: It\'s not my best performances. I mean, I was right there in the high jump. I just missed it. I know I could have won. But hey, 2nd in the nation isn\'t bad. In the Triple Jump, I PRed, so there\'s no way I could have been upset about that. I think I was 5th going into it, and I got 3rd. And today, I went into the finals in 7th and got all the way up to 4th. So I\'m happy. But it\'s over... I\'m relieved. But it\'s also sad.

On the meet: This is the best meet I\'ve been to. I like this track way better than the other track. The only thing is that the people can\'t get as close. And the first day, it took me ten minutes just to get in here.

On how she got to this level: For sure, it was hard work. I calculated that I\'\'ve done 1,560-some practices in my life, and I\'m still going. I fell in love with the sport. So it was hard work and dedication, and of course, the best coaches in the country, at least I think so. And they support you by getting the best competition. It\'s unbelievable how much they care about me. I know they\'re really proud, even though I didn\'t win.

On the \'next Nicole\' at McDowell: We have a little prodigy in the works. She\'s a junior, and she\'s a volleyball player. And there\'s a freshman. She just reminds me of myself when I was a freshman. Real skinny. Real lean. And both of those girls have been watching me. But I\'m always going to come back. I\'ll be more than happy to help them.

Craig Miller, Manheim Township

On the race: It went out a little slower than I thought it might... 2:05 or something like that, so my time was not as good as I thought it could have been. I wanted to try to run in 2nd place and try to negative split it. But I got passed on the backstretch and took 2nd. That\'s good enough. I wanted to run faster than I did last year.

On his plans: I am not going to run (track) again until next spring, and cross, of course. I don\'t think I\'ll swim this year. I\'ll probably just run all winter. To get a better base.

On his strategy at the PA state meet: I just wanted to get a really fast time at States. I wouldn\'t say I was trying to get a feel for this (Nike) race. I was just trying to run my best time.

On how his States race impacted his thinking for Nike: I guess I was a little worried. I would have wanted to run 4:08 at States. It might have hurt me a little bit - psychologically.