March 6, 2009
by Herb Jones
There is not much that Chanelle Price did not accomplish in her high school running career.
She is mentioned in the same breath as Joetta Clark, Mary Slaney and Kim Gallagher. In the fall of 2008, Price stepped on the University of Tennessee campus sporting a lifetime best 800 meter time of 2:01.61, 2008 Gatorade National Female Athlete of the Year honors in her back pocket and a great deal of expectations.
The pressure of being Chanelle Price.
The Three-time Pennsylvania Class 3A state champ in the 800 meters recently spoke with PreRaceJitters.com about her freshmen year at the University of Tennessee.
PRJ: What was your decision making process in making the critical choice of what college to attend?
CP: My decision making process consisted of finding schools that met what I was looking for both academically and athletically.
PRJ: What were you looking for, and how did the University of Tennessee fit this?
CP: I was looking for a university with a great communications program as well as a successful track program. Tennessee met both of those qualifications. The journalism field here is top-notch, and I definitely couldn't go wrong in choosing one of the finest middle-distance coaches in the world as my coach.
PRJ: How would you describe your off-track style, and how do you think it compliments your on-track life?
CP: My off-track lifestyle is strongly influenced by my role as a collegiate athlete. I have to remain aware of everyday things such as the amount of sleep I receive, the type of food I eat, and the kinds of "fun" things I do with my friends. Of course, it is important that I do some enjoyable things such as go out shopping or to get my nails done, but I know that I have to be smart in my off-track lifestyle because it definitely complements my on-track life.
PRJ: Adjusting to the new found freedom of college is a difficult process for a lot of students. How have you found a way to balance the freedoms of college, classroom expectations and the pressures of competition?
CP: I've adjusted well to my new college lifestyle because I know that my school work and training have to come first.
PRJ: So far, what's been the biggest difference running in high school and running at the University Tennessee?
CP: The biggest difference is being able to train and compete with young women who are at an advanced level.
PRJ: Are you okay with where your indoor race times are in the 800?
CP: In the beginning of this indoor season, I was forced to take some time off due to an injury in my lower left leg. Considering that, I'm thankful to even be competing this season, and I'm definitely content with my 800 times so far. I'm progressing and am excited to see some big improvements at SECs and NCAAs.
PRJ: Now that you are in the full swing with your college track career, what goals do you have for the season?
CP: I definitely want to help the team capture conference and national titles. A major goal of mine is to mature as a runner, meaning I want to become more "race smart." I also want to run indoor and outdoor personal bests, in hope that those personal records will lead me to some independent titles as well.
PRJ: How are you doing on your progress to these goals?
CP: As I mentioned before, my injury was definitely a setback, especially mentally. However, a favorite motto of mine, "everything happens for a reason," has allowed me to stay positive. I'm healthy now, and Coach Clark and I think I'm moving in the right direction. As I remain determined and keep working hard, I know my goals are attainable.
PRJ: Are you on target with where you hope to be on your times by the end of the season?
CP: Yes, I am on target for where I hope my times to be by the end of the season.
PRJ: You are widely regarded coming out of high school as one of the most promising young runners out there. How do you handle this kind of visibility in competition? What is it like to have a target on your back everywhere that you go?
CP: Knowing that everyone has high expectations for me becomes very nerve-wracking. I already place a lot of pressure on myself, so added pressure makes circumstances much harder. Learning to run for myself instead of everyone else is something that I'm currently working on. I've begun to realize that putting forth my best effort is the single most important thing I can do.
PRJ: Thank you for taking time to speak with PreRaceJitters.com and good luck this season.
Herb Jones is a contributor for PreRaceJitters, a NBC Universal Sports affiliate site.