Interview with Tiffany McWilliams

By Ricky Quintana

Tiffany McWilliams runs in the first round 1,500m
(Photo by Alison Wade/New York Road Runners)

Tiffany McWilliams, who won her first NCAA title in the 1,500m last weekend, advanced to the 1,500m finals at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships by finishing second in her heat. She led by a large margin for most of the race before being passed by Suzy Favor Hamilton in the final 200 meters.

Q: The NCAA Championships is a completely different meet than this one. Do you feel that change in the level?
Tiffany McWilliams:
I know I will Saturday.

Q: What are your goals for Saturday?
My goal is to improve on my time.

Q: Did you hold anything back?
I just ran relaxed.

Q: What did you think when Suzy went by you?
I was waiting for her to. I was like, 'Oh, I'll go with her.' But then I was like, 'I'll keep it here.'

Q: Did you stay here after NCAA's?
Yes, sir. We drove down here Sunday to Palo Alto.

Q: Have you thought about making the (World Championship) team?
I'd be happy, of course, but as long as I improve on my time, I'll also be happy.

Q: Last year at this time, did you think you think you'd be at this level?
No, no. I didn't think I'd run 4:06 the other week.

Q: Was your intention to create a gap early?
I feel more comfortable going out at a quick pace.

Q: When you kicked last Saturday, did you feel that you still have that snap left in you?
Sure, sure.

Q: Do you ever imagine running at 40 like Regina Jacobs?
No. I look up to her and she's amazing; to still be running at 40. And she's running better than she has been. I think that's great.

Q: When you were in high school, did you follow running at all?
No, my focus was basketball.

Q: How many years have you been running?
I started running my 7th grade year. I ran varsity. We didn't really have a track program. Our basketball coach was our track coach. I look up to him for helping me pick up track and have a team and get to travel.

Q: Have you always run middle distance?
I ran the 400, 800, mile and two mile until my senior year when they gave us only three events to run. So I did the eight, the mile, the two mile and the triple jump.

Q: Is it true you were the state champ in the triple jump?
Yes, sir.

Q: Do you remember how far you triple jumped?
I don't remember. I can't even tell you my two mile time or anything.

Q: What is your best 400 time ever?
56. That's the fastest I ever ran. I ran that on the 4x4 at SEC's.

Q: Anyone else run in your family?
No, my mom ran until she turned her ankle and my grandfather was on the track and field team at Ohio State, but he threw the shot and discus.

Q: What do people back in Red Bay think of your accomplishments?
I don't know. I haven't been home. I'm hoping to go back next week.

Q: Have you gotten any phone calls?
Actually, my basketball coach called me the night before last and congratulated me. He was excited for me. He wanted me to come by and see him when I got back.

Q: How have you felt during the course of the year? How do you feel physically?
I don't really think about the long season. I just keep running. If I have another race, I just keep running. I try to do the best I can.

Q: Do you think about running in August at the World Championships?
I haven't thought about it. All I've thought about for now is to run this race and qualify for Saturday and train for cross country season so we can win the SEC Championships.

Q: What is your height and weight?
Height, 5-08.5. Weight, anywhere between 120 and 125. I haven't checked my weight in a while.

(Interview conducted June 19, 2003, Posted June 21, 2003)

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