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Quotables: Pre-NCAA Outdoor Championships – Texas A&M Athletics

8 min read
Quotables: Pre-NCAA Outdoor Championships - Texas A&M Athletics

BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M track & field head coach Pat Henry, student-athletes Tierra Robinson-Jones, Tyra Gittens, Devin Dixon and Bryce Deadmon, fielded questions Friday afternoon, on the upcoming NCAA Outdoor Championships beginning Wednesday, June 9-12 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Head Coach Pat Henry

on how the team is feeling heading into the NCAAs:

“This group is excited about this opportunity, you can see that there is some anticipation going on right now. Anytime you go to the NCAA Championships, they want to be at their absolute best. That is the narrative for themselves right now, ‘I want to try to be at my best’ my talk to them is to just repeat what you’ve done before. Every track meet we’ve had has been a rehearsal, now you have the opportunity to go to the big play and that’s what this is about. Let’s do what we did to get here and let’s try to do it at the best of our ability.”


on how much of a chance does the women’s team have for a national title:

“I think anytime you are talked about having an opportunity and anytime you are in the mix, you never know what is going to happen at this competition. We’ve come to this meet before and Texas A&M wasn’t even a thought and we’d left the meet with the championship trophy. It is all about how you do that day and that is track & field, it’s how you perform on championship day. I feel good about our group, our women’s group is in good shape if everyone does what they are expected to do and do it to the best of their ability, I think we can be in the mix. On the men’s side, I don’t think they are counting us in the mix and I think we’re ranked seventh. I believe on both sides we have an opportunity and we will be in the mix.”


on the key to competing to the best of your ability on championship day:

“We’ve had a lot of practice, rehearsals and a lot of opportunities to succeed and to fail. We’ve learned from those experiences. Track & field athletes know that what you did during the season doesn’t count, it’s about what you do right now. They prepare themselves between their ears for that kind of thing, they know that’s what the sport is about. It’s athletes that are strong between their ears that make things happen for themselves at this point.”


on having veterans to mentor the young athletes:

“I think anytime that you have some athletes that have been there helps the young people watch how the older athletes are going to respond to this kind of competition. Our young athletes on this team have been in the fire, they know what’s going on. Athing [Mu] and Brandon [Miller] understand what this is all about, they’ve competed on big stages. Our season prepares everyone for these big stage moments.”


on having the meet in Oregon, does that favor Oregon:

“It favors Oregon. I think having this meet in Oregon is great for track & field, I think having it there every year is not great for the sport. I think there were years when Oregon wasn’t in the mix and didn’t have a horse in the show, but now they do. I think there is a home advantage, but track & field is about doing what you do. They’re going to get some excitement from the stands that we’re not going to get. You’re dealing with young athletes and young people respond to that kind of emotion from the crowd. I think there will always be a home advantage for Oregon. It’s a great venue and they’ve spent a lot of money on the facility, it’s one of the best there is and we should be going there. We’ve built a great facility, others have great facilities and I think it’s incumbent on the NCAA to do that. If basketball were to play the championships at Duke every year, then it would be an advantage for Duke and I don’t think our sport is any different.”

Sophomore Tierra Robinson-Jones

on how she feels heading into the NCAA’s:

“Honestly, I feel pretty good. It’s been a rough season because of COVID-19 and everything that comes with it. I can honestly say that my team and I feel ready, we’re ready to shock the world.”

on the 4x400m relay group’s goal and aspirations:

“Whatever happens, happens. We always set goals for ourselves but we never have the mindset ‘Oh, we have to run this time.’ We are going to run whatever we run and when everything comes together the time comes. We trust each other and get the stick around to get the job done.”

on if the 4x400m feels like they have a target on its back and how do you stay motivated:

“We definitely have a target on our back because we are the defending champions from 2019. It motivates us, pumps us up and we’re always ready for whoever lines up against us. My teammates, all my girls keep me motivated. We push each other so much and it just gives us more energy. We really count on one another.”

Junior Tyra Gittens

on how important is the energy she brings when the meet is three to four days long:

“Physically it is not as bad as one would think. I’ve trained for this and this is what I do. Mentally it is exhausting. After the SEC Championships it took me about a week and half to recover. I can’t wait, I love being able to push myself. It’s exciting because I have a new talent some might say, it was always there but long jump just decided to come out and be great this year so I’m excited to jump with fresh legs in the open long jump in my first event on Thursday.”


on possibly being the first Aggie to win the national championship in the heptathlon and long jump:

“It would mean a lot. When I went to Oregon last, my freshman year, it was the worst meet of my life. I forgot how to hold a shot put, it was terrible. It was raining, I was cold and I was thinking ‘Why am I here’. I’m a new Tyra and to be able to not only win one but possibly two would be great but I don’t want to go to just win, I am more about leaving a legacy and I do want to leave my mark at Texas A&M and also the NCAA. I am going for the collegiate record at Nationals, that’s just where my head is at. I’m not going to be thinking ‘Oh, I have to do this or that’ but that is my main goal for the week. With that mentality, I know my open events will also be successful.”


on becoming the ultimate heptathlete/how obtainable is the collegiate record (6,527):

“I surprised myself sometimes but I never say it is off the table. Realistically, my goal of 6,800 is reserved for Olympics and the future. The collegiate record [6,527] is very attainable. It is where I have planned to be at National’s since COVID-19 started, I did my planning and the collegiate just over 100 points more is where I had planned to be. I dream big but I plan realistically, everything that I say is said because I know I can do it and I’ve done it in practice. I’m confident that good things will happen.”

Senior Devin Dixon

on expectations heading into the NCAAs:

“Finish. I feel like this season has really been something that has helped me grow as a person and I feel like each race is about progressing. I’m looking for progression. I ran 1:48 at the SECs, 1:47 at West Regionals so hopefully 1:46, 1:45 at Nationals. I’m not looking for anything too big, just progression.”


on competing this season has meant to you:

“This season has been a big growth year for me. I’ve learned to appreciate small progressions because high school I was so use to just winning. This season has helped me to grow and understand that you have to take some losses and sometimes you have to take a step backwards in order to move forward. I’ve felt like some of these losses have helped me appreciate my abilities and my God given talents. I feel that I am getting better with each stride.”


on what’s it like being teammates with Brandon Miller:

“He always ask me for advice and I try to give him the best advice from my perspective, but he is a beast in his own right. It’s really fun being with him, it’s almost like being with a little brother a little bit. I see him as someone I can pass on the 800m legacy too, from Donavan [Brazier] to me from me to Brandon [Miller].”


on how special it is to be a part of the 800m legacy:

“It makes me feel really good. I use to look up and watch Donavan [Brazier] race when I was younger, just to see that I am the person that can be up in that caliber feels really good. I’m just excited to give it my best this one last time and leave with a positive mindset from my time here.”

COLLEGE STATION, TX - May 29, 2021 - during NCAA Outdoor Track and Field West Prelims at E.B. Cushing Stadium in College Station, TX. Photo By Craig Bisacre/Texas A&M Athletics

Senior Bryce Deadmon

on what would cap off a successful final season:

“A win. That would definitely be what caps off a successful senior season. The whole reason I came back this year was to do what I’m doing now, I feel like that would be the only thing of the pinnacle of me coming back.”


on what’s his motivation and how is this a benchmark for the Olympics:

“I’m not using this meet as a benchmark too much, what I do at Olympic Trials would be the benchmark. It seems that I’m running faster and faster, week by week so I want to see what I can do at trials before I say that. It would give me a pretty good feeling of how how I would stack up to the competition to date.”


on how he his feeling mentally and physically for the NCAAs:

“I feel pretty ready, at this point I don’t have a choice but to be ready. We will see what happens when I go out there, I feel the same mentally and physically as I did earlier in the season. It’s just my times are dropping, so I’m in a lot better shape than I was earlier which is expected.”


on making sure he runs his best race on championship day:

“Every time I toe the line I tell myself the same thing, ‘This will be the best race of my life.’ It’s been working so far and that’s what I will continue to do. Keep talking myself up and telling myself that I will do well and that I can compete with anyone. As long as I do my best then I don’t have anything to be disappointed in myself about.” © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.