By David Villavicencio
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Since she set foot on campus, Alaine Tate has made an impact on the Miami women's track and field team.
The middle distance runner has been a key contributor for the Hurricanes this season, but Tate, who transferred from Hampton University, almost never made it to Coral Gables.
"I signed early out of high school," Tate said. "I really didn't know I was signing early but the coach who was at Hampton ended up leaving and he was the main reason I went there so I decided to transfer."
Tate was granted her release from Hampton and the junior transfer quickly formed a bond with Miami's coaching staff and ultimately decided to become a Hurricane.
"Well I didn't get my release papers until the last minute," Tate said. "It was really just Miami. They happened to have scholarship money left so it worked out perfect, almost like it was meant to be."
The Queens, N.Y., native chose Miami for a variety of reasons. Beyond the excellent coaching staff and program's tradition of success, Tate liked the idea of training in optimal weather conditions.
"It is hot outside all year, which is always a plus," Tate said. "During indoor season, I would be able to still train in the heat. I wouldn't have to change my workouts because of the weather. I can always train outside in the heat, which is great because it warms up your muscles faster so it's less warm up time and more training time."
After spending so many cold winters in New York, the 20-year-old quickly became accustomed to Miami's tropical climate. Tate returned to New York over holiday break and struggled to adjust to temperatures that she grew up with for most of her life.
"I was tired of the cold," Tate said. "I don't like being cold at all. When I went back home for Christmas, I caught hives because it was so cold when I went out to train. I have never had hives before."
Tate's training has proven beneficial as the 5-foot-3, 116-pound runner is one of leaders of the women's track team. She has focused on endurance training while at Miami and she believes it has made a difference in her performance.
"I am doing a lot more endurance work then I'm used to so I am stronger than what I usually am," Tate said. "I can tell at the end of the race that I recover quickly, while other runners without great endurance take a while to recover and get back into it."
The junior has yet to win a race as a Hurricane but she has placed second twice this season in individual events, while contributing in the women's 4x400 relay.
Tate believes part of her success comes from training with sophomore Taneisha Cordell. The two finished first and second in the 600m at the New Mexico Classic earlier this season and they are constantly pushing each other to improve as runners.
"I like it because I actually have someone I can train with," Tate said. "We are running the same time, back and forth, so it will help both of us. In the race, we know we will both come out 1 and 2 like we did in the 600."
A health sciences major, Tate is not sure what she will do once her collegiate track career ends. But she does have an idea of where her life will go once she graduates.
"I am kind of scared because it's coming so close," Tate said. "I have a year and half and then I am graduating. My mom keeps asking me if I am going to stay down here or go back to New York. I don't know yet, but I know I want to go back to school. I am studying health science and I want to go into nutrition and one day get a Master's."