Track & Field |
Feb. 6, 2013
By T.J. Jones
One of the world's top hurdlers calls the University of Cincinnati campus home. Not only is he an outstanding student here at UC, but Terrence Somerville has put UC in the international track spotlight. It isn't often that a college student has the privilege of being able to say that they have posted the seventh fastest time in the world, but Somerville is a rare exception. Earlier this season at the Doug Raymond Invitational hosted by Kent State, he posted the seventh fastest time in the world in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.71 seconds. When we caught up with Somerville he was very humble about such a major accomplishment.
"I just think it's nice for me to make it into the national and international picture because I would like to use track one day, hopefully in a professional setting. I think it lets me know that I'm on the right track to do some good things and hopefully I'll be able to make a career out of it."
This winter, Somerville is competing with the UC's track team as an unattached due to having exhausted his indoor NCAA eligibility. However, Somerville still has a year of eligibility remaining in outdoor track as he was injured last spring and did not compete during the outdoor season. Although he has used up all of his indoor eligibility, Somerville continues to practice ahead for the upcoming outdoor season. This might be a difficult thing for most young athletes to deal with, but Somerville has chosen to use it to his advantage.
"It's more motivation for me to have a good outdoor season. I'm using it to get ready for the outdoor season and brush up on some things to get ready for the season that actually will count for me. Also, being unattached for me would be a worst case scenario for me if I didn't go professional right out of college so I have to get used to being unattached. So for me it's an OK feeling and mentally I'm in a good place."
Adding to the impressive time of 7.71 seconds recorded by Somerville earlier this year is the fact that he did it while training at a northern school where weather can limit training regimes. Most of this year's top times have come from track programs in the southern region of the United States or from professionals in countries where the weather is warm and permits them to train outdoors.
"I haven't really noticed that big of a difference. Whenever I've been healthy I've been up there in the national rankings. I think it just comes down to working hard. I don't think it has too much to do with where you live or train. That's what will get you the good results."
Although his coaches and UC track fans have high hopes for Somerville's performances still to come in this spring's outdoor track season, no one has higher expectations than Somerville.
"I would like to be a national champion. I'd really just like to be a national champion. Then hopefully after that I can compete for the world championship."
These expectations aren't out of the question for Somerville as he has already competed at the U.S. Olympic trials this past summer in Eugene, Oregon. Such an experience can offer a collegiate athlete the chance to assess both their current skill level as well as see where they could be in the future. It gives them the chance to be around and compete against those athletes that are already in the position they are working to get to.
"That was a great experience. Being a young guy that's still in college at the Olympic Trials and being around professionals that you see on television and people that you've come to idolize it was kind of breath taking. It made me realized that I could really do this and make it in this sport. So it was more encouraging to be there and just soak it all in as a great experience."
Somerville still has tremendous upside as he is running some of the best times of his career before the outdoor season has even begun. Perhaps the most encouraging fact about his times is that he has not yet peaked from a physical standpoint. Somerville is coming off of an Achilles injury suffered last season and says that he is not quite where he wants to be despite running some very impressive times.
"I don't feel like I'm in the best shape, but I feel like I'm getting close. I'm still coming back from an Achilles injury last year that kept me out of the outdoor season. So coming back I'm feeling pretty good. I wouldn't say that I'm completely there yet and at 100 percent, but I'm doing pretty well. I'll be ready for outdoors."