When he started running it never crossed his mind, he would emerge a world class runner. Fast forward to today and Tabarie Henry lead an Aggies mile relay team that is capable of running a sub 3:00 race and will contend for an individual 400 meter NCAA title.
The returning All-American has already has a brilliant career at Texas A&M - leading the Aggies to team an outdoor nation championship.
PreRaceJitters chatted with the 400 meter runner about getting started in the sport and his season plans before leaving for the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
PreRaceJitters: What was the first race you ever saw in person?
Tabarie: To tell you the truth I didn’t know anything about track till my 11th grade so my first race probably was Justin Gatlin running the 100 meters.
PreRaceJitters: When did you begin competing in track and field, and what was your first event?
Tabarie: I started track my late 10th grade year and I was sorry, I ran the 800m / 400m and my prs was 2:10 and 54sec.
PreRaceJitters: Did you have Olympic aspirations as a child?
Tabarie Henry: No, not at all I wanted to be a model or actor.
PreRaceJitters: Who was your first role model in life?
Tabarie: My high school coach whose name is coach Brown.
PreRaceJitters: Describe the experience of meeting President Barack Obama in the White House last fall?
Tabarie: It was nice under than all the rules and security it was something I’ll never forget, I actually shook his hand that was fun.
PreRaceJitters: You were named Big 12 Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week honors on April 5, 2011 after running your first outdoor 400 meter of the season in a collegiate-leading 44.83, at the time.
Tabarie: Yea, it was a great honor cause last year was a long season and I had a great down fall last year so it was cool to get that award.
PreRaceJitters: With that, last year you talked about making the transition from a speed endurance training program to a more sprint-based philosophy at Texas A&M. How well you adapted and how are you feeling with your race today?
Tabarie: Well last year it was new to me that why I had a hard time running like I use to in JUCO but every day I try my hardest to learn the system and listen to my coaches. And till today I’m still learning.
PreRaceJitters: Having already won two team national titles and 4×400m relay national titles. Do you place a lot of pressure on yourself an individual NCAA Championship?
Tabarie Henry: No, not really can’t put a lot a pressure on yourself cause you wouldn’t run fast, so I just go out there and do the best I can and try to give the most points I can give for my team.
PreRaceJitters: At Texas Relays, you 4×400 meter relay team ran a ridiculously fast 3:00.45, breaking Baylor’s 1985 meet record. In your mind, is this team capable of running under 3:00.00?
Tabarie Henry: Yea we can we just have to be ready at the same time, cause every time we get a chance to run fast one of us is ill or hurting so we all have to be ready at the same time.
PreRaceJitters: How has the progression been over the last year in terms of dealing with going from a strength-based program at Barton Community College to a sprint-based training program at Texas A&M?
Tabarie: It’s still coming along I’m still learning till today so the progression will not stop, but this year me and Coach Henry talk and they adding in some of my old workouts from JUCO so it’s been fun this year.
PreRaceJitters: I read once you said that you were too young in 2008 and didn’t understand running while competing for the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 2008 Beijing Games. What’s your mindset looking forward to the 2011 World Championships and 2012 London Games.
Tabarie: Yea I was like 19 at the time I was just out there in space, but now after 09 World Champs, I have a little more trust in myself as long as I keep making finals I’ll be a happy…
PreRaceJitters: What do you have on tap after the NCAA Outdoor Championships?
Tabarie: Well, I want to try to pick up a deal [shoe contract] and run in Diamond League meets and represent my country to the fullest.
PreRaceJitters: Do you still get prerace jitters?
Tabarie: Yea I just get jitters when the pressure on me or my time, I don’t get jitters on who I compete against just my time.
PreRaceJitters: Thank you so much for your time Tabarie and best wishes on the remainder of season.
Few, if any have accomplished as much. Jessica Beard has been exceptional. Brilliant. An integral part of a growing dynasty who helped bring the “sprint” title to Texas A&M.
The A&M senior 400 meter runner walks us down deciding to go to Aggie Land, being teammates with some incredible athletes and looks down the road to the NCAA Outdoor Championships and U.S. Outdoor Championships.
PreRaceJitters: Wow, what a meet you had at Big 12 Outdoor Championships. How awesome is it to win the women’s and men’s team titles while taking the 4×400 relay?
Jessica: The feeling is the best one. Even though I did not win the individual title, coming into the meet knowing that it would take the entire team was a great aspect to focus on and it challenged us under pressure to see what we would do and how well we could perform.
Going out and winning both titles my last year, was a wonderful experience, knowing that the seniors had something memorable we could leave with. When we put different people on the relay, it’s always good to see how we can perform so I was very pleased with the way all the girls stepped up and won.
PreRaceJitters: While we are on the subject of history, did you originally come to College Station with plans on re-writing the Aggie record books while at the same time being part of changing the landscape of college sprinting to Aggie Land?
Jessica: I never had a plan to come in and change or re-write anything, I just came in with high hopes of getting better and improving and trying to one day win my own individual title and most definitely a relay and team title.
I just knew that I was in good hands with Coach Henry’s resume, and Coach Anderson’s personality, and I just wanted to come in and prove that I could make the transition and become a better person and athlete.
PreRaceJitters: Why did you leave Ohio for college?
Jessica: TOO COLD!!! Lol, all of my choices were in the south or somewhere warmer than Ohio.
PreRaceJitters: Do you do any workouts with the Aggie 400m men Tabarie Henry and Demetrius Pinder?
Jessica: Lol. No I don’t. They’re very competitive in practice, I like to work on myself and at whatever pace Coach tells us, so I don’t think I could keep that focus or keep up! They’re two of the world’s best.
PreRaceJitters: The NCAA championships, running with great athletes like Porscha Lucas and Gabby Mayo and for coach great coaches - Texas A&M has worked out for you?
Jessica: Yes, A&M has worked out so well for me. When you come into a program, you are not sure what is in store, or how the people and environment will be. Even in the toughest times and through little disputes, I can say that I always have my teammates and they will always have my back.
We encourage each other and we come together like no other during Championships. I have to say that Coach Anderson, is a Coach like no other. He takes the time to learn who we are as athletes, students, and individuals, and that’s a tough job for an assistant coach! Coach Henry tells you what you need to hear, always there to relieve little stresses and always finds ways to motivate us when needed the most!
From Gabby and Porscha, I’ve mainly learned that injury can not keep a talented woman down for long, they’ve bounced back in more ways than one and that is something I keep in mind when things don’t go as predicted.
PreRaceJitters: Speaking of which, what is Gabby Mayo like as a college teammate?
Jessica: Hmmmmmmm. Lol, no Gabby is the crazy one! Loves to compete and loves to proves others wrong, when she thinks she’s right.
I lived with her my freshman year and she loves Fresh Prince! So that tells you she has that goofy side as well. Sweet girl for the most part (just don’t make her mad on the track, she shows out and performs well! Lol).
PreRaceJitters: You’ve earned three NCAA silver medals in the 400 meters? What would winning an outdoor national championship mean to you?
Jessica: Winning the Outdoor NCAA crown would make the indoor one even better. Along with a faster time or pr would be icing on the cake. I just want my senior year to be as memorable as possible.
I’m just going to go out there and give my last race all I have. And if that aids in becoming 3 time national champions, I know that would be the biggest blessing God could ever grant us!
PreRaceJitters: Another year, another championship banner. What does this team need to do to defend its team title in NCAAs?
Jessica: The team needs to focus on the team. We need to qualify to the best of our abilities and compete with courage and heart. We need to make finals and do the unexpected!
We need to listen to our coaches and to our supporters. We need to do what we’ve been doing all year, just at a deeper level. We need to remember who we are and why we came to nationals. We need to be Texas A&M, and nobody else.
PreRaceJitters: Does being a senior on a team coming off of back-to-back championship change the way you prepare?
Jessica: Not really. I don’t think you can just step up and try to be a different person at NCAA or any other big meet, than you are everyday in front of your teammates or how you act towards your teammates.
I think you just have to come with the mindset that this is a new year, a different combination of people, and everyone who has come this far can make it. You just try to improve the little things that you’ve been working on all year, and put it all together.
PreRaceJitters: In 2009, you earned a gold medal as a part of the Team USA 4×400 meter relay competing in Berlin. How does that experience come into play as you stare down a NCAA Outdoor Championships and a U.S. Outdoor Championships in a World Championship year?
Jessica: Well that happened after NCAA but it does show me that I have a big role when it comes to the 4×4 on the collegiate level and that I’m very capable of fulfilling it.
That experience was my first ever, so it was a learning process and I definitely believe that it will help me this year as I go into another World Championship year.
PreRaceJitters: So far, you’ve run 50.79 in your career. Is a sub-50 second 400 meters is within reach?
Jessica: With God ALL things are possible to him [her] that believe. Sometimes focusing on time could be a hindrance instead of a stepping stone. Indoor I just focused on my goals, and I plan to do that outdoor.
I will just have to wait and see what God has in store for me, and hopefully it’s a new PR.
PreRaceJitters: What do you do to wind down?
Jessica: I really just hang out with my teammates and cook and go to the movies. I like to read also in my spare time, but other than that, I just sleep! Lol.
PreRaceJitters: This is kind of a tough question to toss at you at the very end, but can you somehow give us a glimpse of what it means to represent America on the National Team two years ago, and try for the World Championships this year?
Jessica: That year will always be special. Running at the Olympic Stadium where Jesse Owens won his four gold medals, and him growing up in Cleveland Ohio, I don’t think I could really ever put that experience into words, but it was amazing for me, especially since it was my first team.
Now I want to do the same thing, each year, I just want to get better and improve. I believe if I do that, then my chances at another memorable experience will be just around the corner. Each experience is a lesson and hopefully I continue to learn from them!
PreRaceJitters: Thanks for your time and best wishes with the remainder of your season.
After losing a string of races the Baylor 400m runner is rounding into shape and preparing to defend the mile relay conference title.
2010 Indoor Season’s Best
- 200 meters: 20.80, Virginia Tech Elite, 2/5/10
- 300 meters: 32.32, Hokie Invitational, Collegiate Record, 1/23/10
- 400 meters: 45.03, Tyson Invite, World Leader, 2/11/10
If you aren’t familiar with him, you had better ask somebody about the pure-talent 200 / 400m runner.
For all accounts, Georgia’s Torrin Lawrence is having an historic season, running at pace that can’t be ignored. Earlier this season, the sophomore rattled off a new indoor 300m collegiate record and currently lays claim to the fastest 400 meter time in the world.
But he is not satisfied. Lawrence is focused and determined to deliver his best 400m performance to win his first NCAA title at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas and bringing up the Bulldogs program in the process.
In this exclusive interview, Lawrence discusses gunning for an NCAA Champion and how good this Georgia Bulldog squad can be this season.
Special thanks to the University of Georgia. Song Bye Bye Bye courtesy of echoed.
Joanna Atkins speaks with PreRaceJitters.com after 50.39 seconds in the 400 meters.
The latest guest on the PreRaceJitters’ Podcast is no stranger in the NCAA finals and competing for national titles. Calvin Smith has already run 44.96 this season at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Champions along with running the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays looks to lead the Gators to the promise land.
PreRaceJitters catches up with LaShawn Merritt after winning the 200 meters in 20.07.