Samoei building to strong finishBy Brett Hudson | 04/20/2011 9:01am
The Alabama men’s track and field team, only about three and a half weeks removed from the Southeastern Conference Championship meet in Athens, Ga., is looking forward to creating another finish like last semester in the indoor track season.
The Crimson Tide will look to senior Fred Samoei to continue improving his results like he has all season long, and be at his best when the Tide needs him the most.
“My training has been great so far,” Samoei said. “We haven’t done too much speed work yet. We’ve done a lot of endurance, but now we are starting to add speed stuff and focus on that.”
The outdoor season has been a fruitful one for Samoei and the Tide, as the team saw success in both the UTEP Invitational and the Mt. SAC Relays. Samoei’s performance at Mt. SAC was especially impressive.
"I thought [Samoei’s performance at Mt. SAC] was a tremendous performance, considering he was dealing with some upper respiratory problems,” distance coach Joe Walker said. “But we thought we’d just fly him there and take him day-by-day and see what he could do.”
Samoei’s gutsy outing spoke volumes to Walker.
“I think that’s one of the signs of a great athlete,” Walker said. “When he can go out and perform like that when everything’s not perfect, it gives us hope that he will really step up when things are perfect for him.”
Most of the indoor season was as close to perfect as possible for the Tide. Samoei was no exception. He concluded the indoor season with an 800m national championship, posting a time of 1:48:33 and winning the race by only four one-hundredths of a second.
Walker said he couldn’t say enough about the impact of that national championship on Samoei.
“Winning that national championship was like a mental breakthrough for him,” Walker said. “He has always been physically capable. He’s at that stage now where he kind of refuses to lose.”
Moving forward from the national championship toward championship season in the outdoor portion of the track and field year, the Tide is looking forward to seeing Samoei replicate his performance level in the outdoor season.
“The last three races of last season, I think [Samoei] ran his three best races,” Walker said.
Samoei is hopefully starting a trend through the team with his clutch performance during championship season.
“We do a good job of being ready when it really counts,” Walker said.
While fans are looking for Alabama to produce results in the coming championship season, Walker is keeping the Tide in perspective.
“NCAAs are a full 7-8 weeks away,” Walker said. “We don’t like to look too far ahead of ourselves because if we do that we lose track of what this sport is all about. We just come out everyday and work on getting better, bit by bit every day.”
Alabama and Samoei will look to show off their most recent improvements at the Mississippi Open in Oxford, Miss., on Saturday.