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BOGACZYK: Bange Hurdles Toward More Herd Success

March 7, 2015

By JACK BOGACZYK

HERDZONE.COM COLUMNIST

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Asia Bange has five hurdles to go over in the indoor 60 meters and 10 hurdles to leap in the 100 meters. But the record-setting Marshall junior says for her, it's been more about a mental jump to clear.

"What I've learned in my years here is about mental," said Bange, who reset her 60-meter hurdles school record twice in a third-place finish at the recent Conference USA Indoor Championships. "You have to have a positive mindset. My freshman year (2012-13), I felt like I was scared.

"I wasn't used to losing from high school. We all came here probably as one of the best from our state or area, and one of best from area, not used to losing, and then it feeds the mindset ... `Maybe I'm not good enough ... Maybe this isn't for me.' I did tell myself that a lot of times. So, when I started believing in myself - you can do this - it changed.


 

 

"When we went to indoor (last month), go for first. My goal was trying to win, and I didn't, but I still did great. It's staying positive. If you don't believe in yourself, nobody else will. I think track is 90 percent mental, 10 percent physical."

Bange came to the Herd after winning the 100 hurdles in the Ohio high school state championships for Walnut Ridge in Columbus. Her drive and attacking style produced an MU-record 8.46-second time in the C-USA meet in Birmingham, Ala., on Feb. 26.

Now that she has the Marshall mark indoors, she wants to chase the outdoor 100 hurdles record of 13.39 set by Vanessa Jules in the heptathlon competition at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., in June 2013.

Bange's personal best in the 100 is 13.84 at the C-USA Outdoors last spring - a time that put her in ninth place for a second straight year, and just .02 outside the finals. The previous year, she missed the final by .06.

The Herd begins the 2015 outdoor season March 20 in the Bulls Invitational in Tampa, Fla.

"My goal this spring is to win Conference USA in the 100 hurdles, shatter my personal record, shatter the school record," Bange said. "I just want to end up on top. Vanessa's 13.39 ... I think I can get there, but I know it's going to be a lot of hard work and dedication.

"But I think I can do it because things have been different in my workouts this year from previous years. I've been doing a lot more spring workouts, a lot more with the sprint girls, 100- and 200-meter girls, and I've been able to get faster between the hurdles.

"The indoor season, my goal was to run 8.3, so I missed it, but I set my goals so high because I didn't want to say 8.5 or 8.4. I wanted something really high, so when I don't get there but I get close, I'm still happy, still satisfied - and it gives me something to point to in the future, too.

The biggest thing is to keep improving, not just running the same time."

Marshall track and field Coach Jeff Small said Bange's performances at the C-USA Indoors display "how she just keeps improving and how she works at it - 9.05 and 17th as a freshman, 8.61 and 10th as a sophomore and now 8.46 as a junior."

Don Yentes, the veteran Herd assistant coach who works with sprinters and hurdles, said Bange brings more than talent to her specialty.

"She does two things -- works really hard all the time, and she's very intelligent, and tries to take care of herself on and off the track," Yentes said. "She's got great strength in the weight room, throws the (medicine) ball really far, which is all power and explosion. And she's gotten a lot faster, which I think you can attribute to some of the short sprint girls we've got, and Asia gets in there and runs right with them, and it carries over to hurdles.

"Technically, she's probably a little bit better over the hurdles than she was when I got here (summer of 2013), but she's just made herself a lot faster ... It's about attacking, being aggressive. I talk to Asia about no matter who these runners are, where they're from, just go out there with horse blinders on and go.

"She can be pretty good. She's probably already run a little faster indoors than I actually thought she could, so I'm excited for her for next year. Maybe she can chop about .15 off her time. That doesn't sound like a lot, but when you're running fast, it's a lot. I was really disappointed for her last year because I thought she was really ready to score in the conference (outdoors) meet and then she missed it by .02 of a second."

Bange is enthused about the coming outdoor season, and she and Yentes agree that she's better in the 100 than in the 60. Bange said to her, the indoor season is like the 60 - a bit too short for her best.

Personally I like outdoors," she said. "The indoor season is really short and quick, so if a girl is able to start well, she will run a good indoor season. With me, I can start well, but then I get kind of casual, get comfortable.

"Outdoors, I can pick it up after the fifth hurdle. The indoor is more a struggle for me. It's quick, you start, it's done ... the season and the 60. With outdoor, it's more anybody's game, and Coach might also put me into the 100 or a relay and I think that helps me be quicker for the hurdles."

Bange said the Herd's new Jeff Small Track in the indoor facility has "been a tremendous thing, made a great difference in our outcomes in the indoor season, and it's going to help us in the outdoor season, too" compared to workouts previously on a Henderson Center concourse.

"I feel like our indoor season was always so terrible before," Bange said. "Upstairs on Level E, our running mat was probably only a 30-meter mat, and you can't do much sprinting because when you get off it with your spikes on, you want to slide and fly into the wall.

"You only sprinted maybe 20 meters without having to slow and stop. The indoor facility did a lot for us. We have a place to call home, and we're able to train exactly how we wanted to train, how we needed to train. You feel like a big-time program."

Bange headed to the C-USA Indoors only 2 1/2 weeks after straining a hamstring while warming up for finals at the Akron Invitational.

"I was kind of scared when I strained my hamstring," Bange said. "We're two weeks before conference. What am I going to do? I can't practice and then I'll be behind. I'm seeing times, keeping track of everybody, know what they run. I can't have a setback. I took time off, came back and ran and it really paid off.

"I was satisfied with 8.46. A goal was to get into the conference top three, and I did. When we got done with the prelims, I said to myself, `Hey, just go for it.' In prelims, everyone's times were like 8.4 (led by Chastity Stewart of North Texas at 8.44), no big drastic change. I knew it was anybody's race, so why not go for first? I ran my race and they ran their races and it ended and I was happy."

Bange's school-record 8.46 was .13 behind UTEP'S Greta Kerekes, who bolted to an 8.33, finishing .07 ahead of Miners' teammate Anna-Kay James.

When she ran a season-best 14.03 in the 2013 C-USA Outdoors, Bange wasn't happy because she could "do 14-flat in high school. I was disappointed in myself, asking myself, `what aren't you doing?'"

Those days of doubt have disappeared.

"When I came here I wanted to be the best hurdler that we have," Bange said. "I'm going to spend most of my time running hurdles; others run in relays or the 100, 200. If I'm going to be a one-event person, I'm going to be an expert at it.

"I need to be the best. I don't want anybody else to be close to me. I want to perfect my craft. I want people to see me and think, `Oh, she's really snapping back and attacking the hurdles.' When I warm up, I'm trying to focus and do everything right, because then when it counts you'll do everything right."

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