Keeping Pace with Sarah Thomas

Feb. 21, 2014

Crimson Tide senior sprinter Sarah Thomas will provide weekly insights into life as an Alabama track and field athlete throughout the 2014 season. Here is her first entry as the team prepares for the upcoming SEC Indoor Championships to be held Feb. 27-March 1 at College Station, Texas.

In the track and field world, there are goals that need to be reached. Competing week after week requires us to aim for better performances than the last. It may be a goal to run a certain time or to jump or throw a certain distance; but whatever the situation may be, improvement is imperative. Our head coach, Dan Waters, and the entire coaching staff emphasize the importance of setting goals and achieving them. Up to this point, we have had four track meets, all of which served an important purpose in our journey in becoming the track and field team we know we can be.

As a sprinter, technique is a key factor in success on the track. The first few meets that we had, my goal was to achieve consistency in my form and technique. I set the tone for myself at the Auburn Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., after running a personal record of 7.52 in the 60-meter dash. Maintaining that was one of the most important goals that was set for me. Week after week I strived to remain consistent. After our second track meet, my consistency was reached and I was ready to raise my goal to another level. Running a time of 7.45 in the 60-meter dash became my new target. This is a goal that I am still working hard towards.

Everyone on the team has goals that they want to reach every meet. Sometimes events do not go as planned. It is important for us, as a team, to stick together and to encourage one another. There is a strong family environment that exists on the team. Not just from athlete to athlete, but from coach to athlete as well. Earlier this season, we had a track meet in Indiana in which I planned to reach my goal in running a 7.45 in the 60. My fastest time in that meet was a 7.55. I fell short of my goal, and I instantly got discouraged. My coach, Matt Kane, met me off of the track and said something that lifted my spirits. He said that my consistency was a good sign that I am about to do something great. Those words gave me hope and encouragement that my goal was not too far away.

My teammates, like myself, strive for higher marks at every track meet. The combination of our individual achievements will lead us to team championships. The synergistic element that the UA track team has is important because it builds trust and dependability amongst our team. While I am running the 60, I trust that Nia Barnes is doing her job at throwing the hammer, and Alexis Paine is pole vaulting at her very best. We all rely on each other.

As we begin training for the SEC Championships, we know that it is time for us to perform not only for ourselves, but for one another. We compete in one of the toughest conferences in the country, and it is going to take a team effort to make our mark.