CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Before the track and field season gets underway, it is time to meet the student-athletes of the 2012 University of Miami track and field team. Leading up to the start of the season, HurricaneSports.com will introduce you to members of the team.
In addition, be sure to follow UM Track & Field on Twitter (@MiamiTrack) for the latest news on the squad.
To lead off the "Going the Distance" series, let us find out more about senior long jumper Samantha Williams...
Hometown: St. Andrew,
High School: St. Andrews HS for Girls
Other College: University of Mary
Major: Economics & Marketing
Why did you decide to attend the University of Miami?
I have always wanted a well-rounded education, and I was also looking for a program geared at transforming my athlete capabilities. I did my research and found that UM offered me all this and more. After speaking with Coach Robinson, I felt a great deal of comfort knowing that I would be in good hands. Another important factor too, UM was only an hour away from home.
What is your major here at the University of Miami?
Economics with a Minor in Marketing.
What was the best aspect of being part of Miami's Track & Field team?
The track and field team is perhaps one of the 'smallest' of the 'larger' teams - this worked well in the sense that everyone knows everybody not just as a teammate but also as a friend. Both the guys and the girls combined is like a family. We all have each other's back and keep motivating to the end. With this we are unbreakable, and I am more than happy to be a part of such a group of hard working and loving athletes. Track and field is competitive and sometimes I get discouraged but if it wasn't for my teammates, and of course my coaches, I don't think I would have made it to where I am today. Their love and encouragement made me push myself at times when I thought there was nothing left.
You have accomplished quite a bit in your first season at Miami athletically. What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment throughout your collegiate career?
As much as I had faith in the program, my coach and my talent, my success was far beyond what I had expected. I grew so much as an athlete and become so much more knowledgeable about my events that I am still amazed to this day. What stood out the most for me though was Outdoor Nationals (NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships), being ranked among the nation's most elite athletes is a tremendous feeling.
What are some of your goals for this upcoming season?
Coming off such a great year I'm planning on out doing what I did in my past season! Last year was all about learning, this year with all the knowledge I have gained and the experience from competing at the Division I level, I am charged and ready to take on 2013. With this in mind, I'm hoping to attain All-ACC and All-American status indoors and outdoors, focusing primarily on being in that top three positions and who knows maybe becoming a national champion.
Have you ever played any other sports?
When I was much younger I was involved in swimming and netball. Netball is similar to basketball, of course not too many people are familiar with the game because it's not so popular in the States but its played with more rules, and mainly by girls.
Originally being from Jamaica, was it difficult coming to the South Florida to run? What was the biggest difference?
Oh wow! I got picked on at practice all year when I complained about the heat "...Your from Jamaica Sam..how are you hot?" hahaha it's not the same. It's very humid here; my first couple of practices saw me completely drenched in sweat and oftentimes out of breath. Jamaica is a mountainous country, we survive because of constant winds and breezes which despite the high temperatures make it a little easier to survive.
What are your career plans after graduation?
That's a tricky one, and I have been asking myself this ever since I started junior year. I am settled on going to graduate school to further my studies and make myself more marketable for the work world.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My dad is a Pastor at a local church back home and my mom is an administrative assistant/ accountant at an accounting firm. I have decided not to follow into their footsteps. I'm pretty much going into this aspect of my life focusing on where my interests are which is marketing. Business was always my focus but my creative side sees marketing in the near future.
What do you do away from running and studying to relax?
Believe it or not I spend most of my time relaxing at home. Being a student-athlete is a job within itself. It takes so much to go to classes and then head to practice then still find the energy to study and get other important stuff done. When I do leave home though I like to shop (as any girl does) then there is hanging out with friends and family.