bleedCrimson.net will be conducting interviews with Aggie women's track and field head coach Orin Richburg throughout the 2008 season as Coach Richburg builds the Aggie track and field program. In this week's interview Coach Richburg recaps the Aggies' performance at the Don Kirby Memorial Invitational, talks his young pole vaulting group and what the Aggies will be doing in preparation for the conference championships.
bleedCrimson.net: Talk about this past weekend's meet in Albuquerque at the Don Kirby Memorial Invitational.
Orin Richburg: A lot of young ladies came in and keep making improvements in what we're trying to do. We had some decent marks from some of the young ladies in the short stuff. We came pretty close to last year in the times that they ran so we're pretty pleased with that. Leah Benton ran a 56 flat in the open 400m which was the first open 400 she's ran since she's been here at New Mexico State. Our hammer throwers did a nice job. We had some personal bests on a couple of the young ladies. Bernard and Jordan Veney. Randi [Grimes] did a nice job in terms of being our number one hammer thrower there. The 5000m wasn't too bad for us there, we also came back in the 1500m, Brandi [Gutierrez] ran a 4:52. Isabel Chea in the long and triple jumps did a fairly decent job there. Overall we're making strides in terms of where we need to be headed. It's toward the end of the season and we're looking at trying to get consistent and doing a decent job at the conference championships.
bc.net: Jordan Veney threw for a regional mark in the discus can you talk about that?
OR: She did a good job. She had a qualifying throw earlier in the year she had thrown 169' earlier and she threw 155' there. With Randi Grimes and Jordan Veney we have two people who hit qualifying marks, in the hammer [Grimes] and the discus [Veney] so that gives us two people moving on to regionals. We hope that this next weekend we can get a few more. It's something that we're trying to get as many people qualified for regionals as possible. The main thing is our first objective is to go into the conference meet and do a decent job in that. Our objective is to get the best possible marks as we can on the board. Across the board there are times we need to have to move forward with the program. So we have two people there [regionals] and we would love to have a few more if we can. We hope that this next weekend at the championship meet in Boise will allow us to get that.
bc.net: Talk a little bit about what it's like for your kids to compete against some of these unattached athletes, some of whom are former All-Americans.
OR: The main thing is the kids get a chance to see people who have achieved a level of excellence that we're trying to get to. Everyone has a different ability level, we're just hoping that we can see some of these athletes like James Davis [Colorado alum], a former 200m runner that's been on two World Championship teams and gold medal teams and see the way that those young men and young ladies carry themselves. We're hoping that our people can see that those people don't carry themselves any differently than we do, they're just approaching things with a little more confidence and a little more understanding of what it takes to get to that level. It gives us a great opportunity for our kids to be in that kind of atmosphere. That gives our kids the opportunity to see people that have achieved All-American status and All-Conference levels and how those people carry themselves and how they approach their events. Just by being observant they can see that they don't carry themselves any different than we do but just being a little more confident and a little more assuring that they can do what they have to do in order to be successful.
bc.net: Can you talk a little bit about your girls that participate in the pole vault? You've got a pretty young squad in that event.
OR: Tara Blanco's a two time New Mexico state champion in the vault and she is just getting on a bigger pole. The main thing is the amount of speed and the amount of force that you have depends on how well you can bend the pole. You always want to have a stiffer pole because when the pole mushes out on you, you can't do much with the pole. We're trying to get her to get adjusted to a bigger pole each time out. The kids are getting stronger, they're running a little bit faster and so as you get on you also have to make sure they're on the right pole in order for them to get the most out of it. She's doing a nice job, I think she went 11'2" and had a couple jumps at 11'8". She's making improvements in that and we've gotten her on a bigger pole and hope that she can continue to grow in terms of getting on a bigger pole. The bigger pole you have and the more you can control that pole is the higher that you can go because you're being able to bend the pole and the more you can bend the pole without it mushing out on you, the more height you can achieve.
bc.net: Can you talk about what your schedules will be the next couple of weeks heading into the WAC Championship Meet?
OR: We have finals this week so basically this week will be a week that the kids will come out whenever they can. We'll have our norma practice time from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and if the kids can fit it in that time, we're out there to work with them. Next week will be a very short week for us, Monday and Tuesday and then we head out for the conference meet and hope that we can go into the conference meet and do the things we need to do.