Q&A With Lindsey Gallo
May 19, 2004
Michigan's Lindsey Gallo claimed two individual titles at the 2004 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships last weekend in West Lafayette, Ind. The junior won the 15- and 800-meter races, becoming just the fourth person in Conference history to win both events at the same championship. In addition to being named the Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week on April 26th, Gallo earned All-America honors in the mile and the distance medley relay. Her winning efforts last weekend helped the Michigan squad to its third straight outdoor team title. Here is how Lindsey answered some of our questions about winning the tough double, racing the 1,500, and why the Michigan program is so successful.
Before you raced at the Conference meet, did you know that only three people in Big Ten history had ever won the 1,500- and 800-meter event double?
I didn't know at all leading up to the race. I'd never thought about it, I think, because I've seen a lot of people do it before where they run both races. I ran the double at a meet earlier this year and did pretty well. That's when my coach and I decided that it was a possibility and something that I could do.
Why do you think success in the 800- and 1,500-meter double is so rare?
The races are close together, so time is an issue. And, the conference is generally strong in the middle distance events. But I think it's just hard to pull off in a short amount of time.
What kind of strategy did you take into the 1,500?
Hilary (Edmondson of Wisconsin) has a really good kick, so the strategy my coach and I came up with was to neutralize her kick. The plan was for me to take the pace from the very beginning, but I actually didn't lead until 800 meters. Then, Hilary and I broke away together on the final two laps and it was pretty much one-on-one. During the race, I felt really good at the pace we were going, and my kick was there at the end.
In that tight race over the last 800 meters, what were some of the thoughts going through your mind, heading into the final lap?
I really wanted to win the (1,500m) going into the meet, that was my goal. The plan was to lead up until the last 100 meters, let her (Edmondson) pass me, and then pass her back at the very end. That's pretty much how the race went too, so it was really exciting at the end and a very cool feeling.
What is the feeling like, to win a Big Ten team and individual title?
Winning as a team is such a great feeling. We were underdogs going in because we didn't win indoor, and we were also underdogs on paper. Plus, we left two of our top runners at home. But everybody that was there really stepped up and came through. Personally, I was happy that I was able to help the team and contribute 20 points.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
Hopefully I'll make nationals. At indoors I placed sixth, so I'd like improve from that and lower my time. I'd also like to qualify for the Olympic trials (to be held in July). I don't have cross country next year, so I can pretty much race all summer.
What do you think has been the key to success for the Michigan track program over the past few years, especially in the middle distance group?
We have a group that's really committed, who trains hard and works together. I really couldn't ask for a better group to train with, like Katie (Erdman), who finished third at indoor nationals this year. The group is very supportive and we all motivate each other. Also (coach Mike McGuire) is such a great middle distance coach. He takes athletes who don't get a lot of national attention coming out of high school and turns them into great runners. This weekend, the team performed so well, my teammates inspired me.
Who has had the most influence on your career, or been your biggest role model, up to this point?
The biggest influence on my career is my coach Mike. I had a rough first two years at Michigan, but Mike never lost faith in me. He kept pushing me, and training me. Then something just clicked last year and everything paid off. But my dad is my role model. He was a runner too, and he's the reason that I started running.
Finish this sentence: If I wasn't a runner, I'd be a...
I don't know! I really can't picture being anything else, I think that this is what I was meant to do.