Q&A With Junior Sprinter Kelly Fogarty
On a roster teaming with exceptionally talented student-athletes, one of the brightest stars on the women's track and field squad has to be sprinter Kelly Fogarty. A native of Danville, Calif., Fogarty has put together a stellar junior campaign thus far, posting a total of seven individual victories and setting the school record in both of her top events, the 100 and 200-meter dashes. She accomplished the feat on the same day, no less, turning in a spectacular performance at the always-competitive Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on April 10. "Kelly's times of 11.74 and 24.12 in the 100 and 200 are very strong marks," women's head coach Darcy Ahner said. "But the truly exciting thing is that she knows there's more there and she can get better. Kelly has been so consistent all season and the fire she brings on race day has been a positive and stabilizing force for the team." Coming off consecutive personal bests in the 100 the last two weeks, Fogarty took a break from her preparation for this weekend's Triton Invitational to tackle a few questions for ucsdtritons.com.
Q: The UCSD women finished third at the NCAA National Championships last season after placing fourth in 2008. Does the team have what it takes to take the next step and win it all this season?
FOGARTY: As of right now, we are ranked high again (yeah!), but it truly comes down to the actual days of competition. We lost a few key players, but this year we have a lot of amazing returners and some pretty awesome newbies, so I think we have a pretty good chance to bump up our standing from third to at least second. Our team has worked incredibly hard this season, and there is no doubt in my mind that we will give those other teams a run for their money!
Q: The Tritons have won five straight CCAA titles on the women's side and UCSD is the strong favorite to win it again in 2010. Which school do you see presenting the biggest challenge when the conference meet gets underway here in La Jolla in two weeks?
FOGARTY: CHICO! They have been on our tail for the past five years. They were the ones who were winning conference until that memorable conference meet five years ago when UCSD won by like a point. Since then, we have been fortunate enough to have an amazing team to keep the winning streak going. This year is going to be close again. Cal State L.A. also has a few key athletes that are going to keep us on our toes. But our team is strong, and we are ready to defend out title for one more year. It's one more chance to go out and do what we do!
Q: You had a tremendous performance at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational two weeks ago, setting the school record in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes. When did you know it was going to be a special day?
FOGARTY: Not until I started warming up actually. That was a weird day because our bus was leaving at 6:45am and I had to get up at 5:30am to catch it. Also, we didn't run the 4x100m relay, so my 100m came after five hours of waiting around the track. But I do remember thinking that my legs did feel really good when I was warming up and that made me excited to run. The thing that really got my adrenaline going was seeing my competitor. She was unattached and had the tiny two-piece uniform and you could just see her muscles bulging. Her seed time was just 0.04 seconds ahead of mine, which was 11.85 and I couldn't let her beat me. When I got in my blocks, I was just smiling because I knew I was going to get her. And by the 50m mark I was a few steps ahead of her. That was the best feeling in the world. At that point, I knew this was going to be a great race.
Then for the 200m, it was the same kind of thing. My competition was the one who held the stadium record, but her time was a lot better then mine. So, I took it as a chance to keep up with her and, if I did that, my time would be pretty close to hers. And that is what I did. I stayed with her to the end and she helped me set that second record.
Q: Speaking of relays, you were part of the unit that set a program standard with a time of 45.81 in the 4x100 last season. How does competing in a relay differ from an individual event?
FOGARTY: The relays are so much fun! You get this bond with the members of your relay team that is totally different. You have to trust and support each other because every leg of the relay counts. Relays help calm my nerves because I have people to talk to before we head out to the track. If I am laughing and having a good time before I race, I usually perform better. Plus relays are really exciting. You never know what's going to happen; is the baton going to get around, are they are going to leave their zone, can they get out quickly, am I going to be able to catch the other teams. The relay is a perfect meet opener because it helps get the jitters out and you have fun with your team.
Q: What do you typically do to get ready for a meet? Any rituals you care to share with us?
FOGARTY: I don't do too much actually. I just make sure that I go grocery shopping the night before to have enough food to last the whole day and I pack all my stuff up the night before, so I don't have to worry about it in the morning. Plus I check my stuff like three times before I leave my house: spikes, uniform top and bottoms, and extra socks. If you have all of those, you don't need anything else for the meet. I bring extra socks because sometimes you just never know what you are going to get into. It might rain randomly, it might get cold and some how you just have cold feet; believe me, it has happened before and I never leave without an extra pair of socks!
As for rituals, I only do one thing. Before every race, I close my eyes and visualize my race. My coach, Mick (Gieskes), helped me with my starts one day by having me visualize what I needed to do and I had an amazing block start. So since then, I visualize the transitions in my race: the driving of the first three steps, the smooth rising of the hips and knees to the final drive phase to the finish line. By visualizing, I can see myself getting everything right and then I know that I can go out and race well.
Q: Do you prepare differently for the 100 and 200 events? Which is your favorite of the two and why?
FOGARTY: I love the 100m! I have loved that race ever since I started running track. Just the thrill of having a few seconds to give it your all is really exciting! (Plus, I am not very good at running the curve yet, the straightaway is where I feel the most comfortable ☺ ) I don't prepare differently for the two events physically, but mentally I do. The 100 is fun for me and I am excited to run it, so it doesn't take me too long to get pumped up for it. On the other hand, it takes me a while to get excited for the 200. I really have to get myself into the zone and focus on the race. But once I get that feeling of 'BRING IT ON!', there is no stopping me!
Q: Have you always competed in sprint events? At what point did you realize you were faster than everybody else?
FOGARTY: I didn't start running track until high school and before that I played soccer. That was my main sport growing up. It was while I played soccer that I knew I was fast. I was always the 'fast girl' on the team; my soccer coaches put me in on offense and had the midfielders kick me the ball and I would just run after it and score. It worked pretty well too! But when high school came around, it was just assumed that I would run track. And from there it's history.
I can remember my first invitational meet. It was at De La Salle High School in Concord and I won the Frosh/Soph heat with a time of 13.10 seconds. I had no idea if that was a good time or not, but my coaches were pretty excited about it, so I was happy! By my senior year, I ran the school record of 11.92 and I was off to UCSD to run on the track team. Since then, I have run nothing but sprints for three years and I love it!
Q: You set several records during your track career at San Ramon Valley High School in Danville. Do you know if they still stand?
FOGARTY: Yep! They do! :) That was a pretty cool day too. I set both records in the 100 and 200 at the East Bay Athletic League Finals. There seems to be a trend of getting both records in one day, ha!! But what is really cool is that a former teammate of mine from SRVHS is running with me again here at UCSD. Bailey Weaver was on the record holding 4x100 relay with me and that record still holds, as well. It's awesome to be running with her again!
Q: Last weekend you set a stadium record with a victory in the 100 at the Soka Peace Invitational. Your time of 11.75 surpassed the old mark set by Carmelita Jeter, the current world leader in the event. When did you learn about the accomplishment and what does it mean to own a record like that?
FOGARTY: I knew that the stadium record was 11.85 and I was just excited to get the chance to break it. I didn't know if I would because in the past, I had never repeated personal records two meets in a row. So truthfully, I had no idea I was going to get 11.75 again. I knew I broke the stadium record after the race, but I truthfully didn't know who Carmelita Jeter was until my coach mentioned it at the team meeting. After hearing that, I was just shocked! I couldn't believe that I broke the record of the current leader in the 100m! I mean she is running a full second faster these days, but knowing that she ran that time when she was younger makes me realize my potential. When I first got to UCSD, I didn't believe them when they said I could be running 11.60s, but as the season goes on, I am starting to believe them!!
Q: Head coaches Tony Salerno and Darcy Ahner have built UCSD into one of the elite programs in the Division II ranks. Talk a little bit about each of them and how they've helped you develop into the athlete you are today.
FOGARTY: They are both really great. The biggest thing for me is how supportive they are. Whenever I have broken a school record or a set new personal record, Tony walks over to me and gives me a big hug. It's awesome to have that kind of support system. Plus they are both very understanding. If you come to them with any sort of problem, they work with you to fix it. Student-athletes need that support and understanding in order to survive and Tony and Darcy have definitely helped me survive :)
Q: In addition to all that you've accomplished on the track, you've also been recognized for your work in the classroom, earning several Provost Honors and All-Academic team selections. How do you balance your schoolwork with the time it takes to be a successful collegiate athlete?
FOGARTY: Truthfully, I am still working on that. It's a tough thing to do. Most of the time it means that I sacrifice other things; doing homework every night, not hanging out with friends, or missing Grey's Anatomy. But I feel that it is all worth it. I am going into a difficult field and I need every point on a test that I can get. But I have gotten better at balancing everything. My freshman year I was a total bookworm and I hardly left my room. Now I get out more and try to give myself more relaxing time, but of course I have my ‘Kelly moments' when I have to study and block everything else out.
Q: You are a Human Biology major and you've said that you would like to pursue a career in the medical field. What part of medicine interests you most?
FOGARTY: It's silly, but I truthfully just love the human body. Everything that it does/balances/maintains just amazes me. How does it do everything and yet allow us to live our daily lives without realizing what is really going on. Since I have been an athlete for most of my life, I am considering going into sports medicine. Unfortunately, I have seen many different injuries while being an athlete and I am always curious how it happened and how they are treating it. I want to help athletes get back on the field and continue to do what they love!
Q: What's one thing most people don't know about you?
FOGARTY: I always have a book in my backpack. I don't have too much time to read during the school year, but if I have a moment at the bus stop or an hour to kill before class, I pull it out and read for a bit. I love getting wrapped up in the stories and seeing how the characters develop. My guilty pleasure is definitely Nicholas Sparks. I have read every book of his and loved them all. I am not going to lie though; the books are waaaaaaay better than the movies. In fact, the past two Nicholas Sparks movies, ‘Dear John' and ‘The Last Song', I didn't even go see because I didn't want to ruin how good the books were. But I also like Dan Brown, historical fiction, and of course the trashy romantic novels; I just can't resist! Ha!
Q: If you could travel to one place and one place only, where would it be and why?
FOGARTY: Oh gosh... that's a tough one. I guess I would say Ireland. I am part Irish and I have always wanted to go there. My last name is very Irish and it is really fun to watch people try to pronounce it right. When they first see it, they want to say Fog-erty. Which I guess makes sense, but I would love to go to Ireland and have someone pronounce my last night right the first time and hear it -- the way it is really supposed to sound; not so Americanized. Also, I want to see those hills! I have seen pictures of these huge, vast, green hills that go on forever. That would be amazing! :)
Q: What's the best part of being a student-athlete at UCSD?
FOGARTY: Priority registration!! Ha! Actually I would say it is having a group of people that come from all over coming together through one common interest and becoming a team. I love my team! I have met my best friends on the track team and everyone is so unique that practice is always a blast. Without track, I would've just been another UCSD bookworm, but the track team has made my college experience that much better!!
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