March 6, 2013
Maximilien's Profile | 2013 NCAA Women's Indoor Championship Information | Live Stats
SPRINGFIELD - With a trip to the NCAA Division I Indoor Championship at stake, Missouri State sophomore track standout Althia Maximilien tried to keep one thing in mind in last weekend's Arkansas Final Qualifier 400-meter dash.
"During this entire season, that was my most relaxed run because I wasn't really expecting to make the NCAA," Maximilien said. "I was just running to put a good time up, so I was very relaxed."
It worked. Maximilien crossed the finish line in 53.06 seconds, the 16th-best time in the country. The NCAA's new indoor qualifying standard allows the top 16 individual times and distances move on to nationals, so that finish vaulted the sophomore sprinter into the 400-meter dash field at the NCAA Indoor Championship meet on March 8-9 in Fayetteville, Ark.
That time of 53.06 was a new personal best, the second-fastest in school history and the third-best time in the Midwest region. The performance resulted from focusing on the simple things, Maximilien said.
"My coach just said to run my race as I'm supposed to, and it will happen," she said. "That was the first time I've executed that well, and it happened."
The native of Bridgetown, Barbados had an elite indoor season among league sprinters, as she is the only Missouri Valley Conference sprinter to qualify for the NCAA meet.
Maximilien isn't without experience in high-level environments, though. As a freshman last year, she qualified for the 400-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Championship en route to an All-American Honorable Mention nod.
Maximilien said she'll that NCAA experience and the momentum from her clutch performance at the Final Qualifier to her advantage.
"Even though there are only 16 of us competing, it kind of boosts your confidence to know that you're No. 16 in the entire nation among all the schools," she said. "I think it's going to be a little bit scary, but I think it's going to be good. I'm excited about it."
Maximilien will compete in the 400-meter dash semifinal on March 8 at 6:25 p.m. CST. Sprinters who qualify for the final round will race on March 9 at 6:40 p.m. CST.
The NCAA Indoor Championship is scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m. on March 8 and 11 a.m. on March 9 at Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville. Both days of the meet will be broadcast live worldwide on ESPN3.