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Q&A With Manteo Mitchell; Former Catamount Track and Field Student-Athlete

July 22, 2009

What have you been up to since completing your collegiate career at NCAA Nationals...?

"Well, before Nationals, I knew that I had qualified in two events for the USA Outdoor Championships, but wasn't sure if I'd attend due to my injury. After talking with Catamount Head Coach Danny Williamson, we decided I needed rest so I ended my season. Then, I received an invitation to run at the 2009 USA National Track Club Championships which were to be held at Randall's Island in New York!

I contacted a coach (David Jones) who happened to be one of my fraternity (Alpha Phi Alpha) brother's! He's one of the coaches for the Southwest Sprinters & Speed Concept (Pro team name) located in Houston, TX. He set it up for me to fly up to New York and run with their team! So I did that. My results, time-wise, were fairly decent considering how much time I had to prepare for it and the injury as well, but it turned out well in the end. My team took third overall and I took third and fourth in the 200 and 400 respectively. We also placed first in the 4x4oo relay and second in the Sprint Medley! I celebrated my 22nd birthday the Monday before the Wednesday that I flew out so it was a great gift for me! Now, I'm just ruminating on whether to attend Grad school here at WCU and continue training, or move elsewhere and do the same (minus the schooling for a little bit."

We read about you being slowed by a hamstring injury near the end of your senior season; how have you rehabbed that injury and how's it feeling...?

"Yeah, my hamstring had been bothering me since conference actually; I just never said anything to the coaches about it! I like to fight through pain. But it hurt me in the long run especially at the Regional Championships. But everything happens for a reason and I know God will never put more on me than I can bear so... Jon Mitzel and I put in crazy hours of treatment to get me ready for Nationals (sometimes three to four times a day). Being two weeks away from one of the biggest stages in collegiate track and field, I felt pretty down being that it was also my `last ride' so, I just kept a positive attitude and outlook on things and hoped for the best! Right now, I'd say I'm about 75-80%. I'm still continuing rehab and weight training for my 2009 indoor season, but I'm taking a month off from running right now to heal the hamstring FULLY this time."



Describe being a part of the US National Club Championships - how did it compare to college events...?

"ONE WORD, WOW!!! It's a blessing to have gotten the invitation, yet alone be there on a big stage with a lot of talented athletes! I had a great time meeting new people and running on a very nice track (the same track Tyson Gay ran 19.58 on in the 200 a few weeks back.) The comparison between this and college was quite different. I'm so used to wearing purple and gold and having my teammates there to warm-up with me and cheer me on so that was somewhat awkward at first. That made the environment different, but other than that it was all business when I stepped on the track. I just stayed to myself and implemented the same strategies and warm-ups that I had embedded at WCU for 4 years!!"

What events do you feel you have the best chance of being at your best in...?

"For some odd reason, Danny [Williamson] believes that I have the talent to run this race we all know as the death, better known as the 400, so I'm going to keep training for that! Most people would say the 200 even though I don't run it as much; I know that if I train for the 400, my 200 times will drop significantly so... That's where I stand right now! 400 hurdles? 800? Those are both maybes but honestly, I wish there was a 300 race!!! That would be fun!"

What is next...? Would you like to continue in your track & field route...?

"Since my senior year in high school, I also said I wanted to someday make a living out of this running thing so that's what I'm aiming for right now! I could say I have dreams of making it to the professional ranks, but `dreams don't keep the lights on'! But I can guarantee by this time next year, I'll be top five in the world!"

Do you have any Olympic aspirations...?

Oh yeah! 2012 in London, I'll be there; the question is will you be there to join me? Any track & field athlete who's serious with the sport will tell you that the Olympics are the final stage of track & field greatness! I can't wait to represent the US for my family & friends, coaches, and of course WESTERN! Just to be there would be an accomplishment, but to be a medal recipient would be even better! That's why I'm STRIVING to be better everyday... new quote from Nike "My Better is Better Than Your Better"! That's what I've been telling myself the past few days. If I want to be "the best" my better has to be better than theirs!"