MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The NCAA Track and Field Championships start June 9. The Gophers’ Abigail Schaaffe will be there competing in the 4×400 relay and her best race, the 400-meter hurdles.
“You know when you feel good about something, you just wanna keep doing it,” said Schaaffe. “So I just keep doing it and doing it, and then I just fall into doing it good.”
“Good” is an understatement for Schaaffe, who became the Big Ten’s back-to-back 400-meter hurdles champion last month, thanks to a mid-race comeback.
“That’s one of the greatest attributes about her is that she just loves to compete, finish well,” said Gophers director of track and field/cross country Matt Bingle.
Schaaffe set a PR in the regionals and now says she’d like to exceed her own expectations in her second trip to NCAA’s.
“My legs are not feeling the best, like the best ever. But it’s all about your mindset. It’s all about how you think. So I’m just positive going into the games,” said Schaaffe.
Schaaffe is from Jamaica. So predictably, her favorite athlete is Usain Bolt. But for a more nuanced reason than you might think.
“He didn’t start out as the best. He started out making it to the semifinals, not making it to the next round, false start in many of his races,” she said. “But, in the end he came out to be one of the fastest men in the world. And he’s still the fastest man in the world.”
Perhaps more insight into this track star’s psyche.
She’s shaved three seconds off her hurdles time in just two years in Minnesota. After nationals, she’ll go home to compete in the Jamaican trials for chance at the World Championships.
“Who knows,” said Schaafe. “We’re just going to keep going until we can’t go no more.”