MileSplit Michigan recently had an opportunity to speak with former Wayne Memorial stand-out sprinter, Anavia Battle about her transition to college competition. Battle, who now represents Ohio State University, enjoyed a stellar 2018 indoor campaign and she hopes to continue to progress with her sprinting during her freshman outdoor track season.
How has your first year of college competition gone so far and how has it aligned with what your expectations were prior to it starting?
What goals do you have set for yourself, both in terms of the 2018 outdoor track season and your college career in general?
For 2018 outdoor track, I do have the goal of dropping consistent fast times, staying healthy and positive throughout my first collegiate outdoor season. In terms of long-term general goals, I hope to become a professional sprinter, but I can't reach that goal if I don't put in the time, effort, dedication, heart and demonstrate consistency. With that being said, it's important to possess these traits as an athlete and a person because you cannot a achieve a goal if you're not willing to work for it.
Talk about the transition between high school and college competition. What were the biggest adjustments you needed to make to ensure that you achieved as much success as possible during your freshman year? What are some of the major differences between high school and college track?
My transition from high school to college had its ups and downs, but for the most part my coaches (Coach Karen Dennis and Coach Joel Brown) helped make it a lot easier with their support. The biggest adjustments were managing my time correctly, as there's a lot a free time in college but being a student-athlete you're always busy with academic meetings, practice (lifting and running), studying, classes and homework. Some major differences from high school track and college track are the competition and practices. In college, there is tons of competition, athletes made it far enough to go to college for running because they were fast. The practices in college can be challenging, but it's all for a reason to make us faster and stronger.
Give us an overview of what your training and racing schedule looks like at Ohio State University?
Here at The Ohio State University, we train everyday. During competition weeks we practice from Monday - Friday and race on Saturday and for regular weeks it's Monday through Friday and sometimes Saturday mornings. This year we will be competing eleven times and you can find the OSU track and field schedule on our website.
Most athletes who compete in college received a great deal of help on their way up the ranks. Who did you look to for guidance and what coaches and teammates assisted you along the way?
As I stated previously, my coaches, Karen Dennis and Joel Brown, supported me a lot through my season with nervousness, staying healthy and motivating me in practices and in competition. My teammates also play a huge role, as in practice we go up against one another and they don't make it easy for me. This makes me a better sprinter. The whole team is very supportive, in practices and race days they're walking around the track or in the bleachers screaming "LET'S GO BUCKS!"
What advice can you provide to high school athletes who are interested in competing for a college team? Can you advise them on how you deal with the demands of being a student athlete and how you balance your rigorous training schedule with your academic coursework?
Some advice I could give to those wanting to take their athletic career to college is, work hard in high school academically and athletically. Also, be willing to make sacrifices to reach your goals. School comes first and track comes second, because without the grades there is no track. So before and after practice it's about school work; I go to tutoring, spend time in the learning center studying and doing homework. Basically during practice and meets times, I worry about track and only track, but the time before and after I'm hitting the books. When the team travels, we take our assignments with us to complete on the trip. This helps us to stay on track and not fall behind on any school work.