Thursday, April 30, 2009

University of Albany's Kamilah McShine Already Qualifies For 100 hurdles and 400 hurdles @ 2009 NCAA Regionals - UAlbany Sports 2009

McShine overcame anxiety to be star in sometimes painful event. Hurdlers sometimes call them "battle scars."

"You have to fall," University at Albany track coach Roberto Vives explained. "I'm an ex-hurdler and I've still got scars on my knees and ankles and everything else."

It's also a reason why UAlbany senior Kamilah McShine was worried when she began the event as a senior at Ramapo High School in Spring Valley.

"I was scared of hurdles," she said. "I thought I was going to fall. All through high school, teammates would tell me to not be scared … Because it hurts."

McShine overcame her anxiety after her first race. She's blossomed into an elite hurdler for the Great Danes, who compete this weekend in the America East championships at Binghamton University.

She's entered in the 100-meter hurdles, 400 hurdles, 400 relay and long jump as the UAlbany women try to win their third conference outdoor title in four years.

McShine will attempt to defend her league title in the 100-meter hurdles, which she now calls her favorite event.

"It's just action," she said. "You achieve overcoming an obstacle every step of the race."

Her track career began at age 6 under the guidance of her uncle Earl Connell, who founded the Hinds' Feet Track Club and first trained her three older brothers.

Connell said his niece was hooked as soon as she ran the 50 meters in her first meet.

"I looked at her running and she had natural form," Connell said. "With her work ethic, I knew she was going to go far."

She began hurdling as part of the pentathlon before concentrating on the individual event at UAlbany.

McShine made the NCAA East regionals last spring, finishing 21st overall in the 100 hurdles.

She's already qualified in the 100 hurdles (13.90 seconds) and 400 hurdles (1:00.27) for the NCAA regionals at North Carolina A&T on May 29-30.

She took up the 400 hurdles only this year and may have a better chance of reaching the national championships in June in that event.

"I knew she was a great athlete and any great athlete can really transition to any event," Vives said.

That talent could lead her to the Olympics because McShine, born in Trinidad & Tobago, might be able to run for that Caribbean nation in the Games someday. She moved to New York at 2 years old.

"It's difficult to continue running (after college), but it's definitely possible if you have the determination to do it," she said.

But first comes graduate school. McShine, a double major in psychology and sociology, wants to pursue her master's at George Washington.

While McShine will be the first in her immediate family to graduate college, she is skipping commencement in two weeks to compete in the ECAC championships at Princeton.

She got permission from her parents, who now live in North Carolina.

"My family's actually coming to that track meet," she said. "I like track and cannot see myself sitting at a ceremony as opposed to competing."

Mark Singelais

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