Killebrew Talks Nationals, Recruiting and More!

Killebrew crushed the competition down in Tennessee back in February

MileSplit IN: You have always been a stellar athlete and one of the top IN sprinters, but you kind of had to live in Lynna Irby's shadow. What was that like? To know you were really good, but then when it came to the big time meets, you wouldn't win because you were competing against Irby.

Killebrew: I never looked at it that way. Lynna has always been like a big sister to me. We met on the Indiana Storm Track Club when I was 6 and she was 9. Growing up, we didn't compete in the same age groups. We only recently competed head-to-head in big competitions last year when I was a sophomore. At that time, I was training with Lynna every week at Storm practice, so I knew what we were both capable of. Even though I did not win when competing against Lynna, there were always good takeaways from every race. I am very competitive and get excited when I have good competition, so running against Lynna was always fun and never disappointing. I never once said in my mind that I was going to get 2nd because Lynna was in my race. In general, I never center my goals on beating specific people; instead I run my own race and focus on execution and improving my time. A lot of times I win, but sometimes I don't.

MileSplit IN: You're first indoor race this past December, you dropped a 7.46, which gave you a US #1 time, and so far, you've been able to drop that down little by little to currently a 7.412. Last season you were in the 7.5's to 7.6's for the most part. So, what have you been doing differently in the off season to help bring that time down?
Killebrew: Execution and form have been my main focus this season. I've been primarily training 1-on-1 with my Dad. During the fall, we did hills and strength training like normal. But this year, we took a different approach by incorporating speed and acceleration early. Training is still intense, but I've been doing a lot of short sprinting (under 200M) and power drills. I've also been working on my block starts and developing into a more technical runner. We just started doing endurance training a few weeks ago.


MileSplit IN: At Nationals last year, you won the Emerging Elite 60m, and this year you made it to the Championship division race. What are your hopes for that race?

Last year, I broke the New Balance Emerging Elite 60M record at 7.49. This year, I have bigger goals. I want to win the Championship 60M. I'm sure it will take 7.25-7.35's to win it, but I'm ready to go that fast.

MileSplit IN:  You're also entered in the 200m. How to you expect to do in that?
Killebrew: I just recently started endurance training for the 200M a few weeks ago. I've already shown improvement over the indoor season and expect my time to drop during New Balance Nationals. I would like to make finals and hopefully get in the top 5.


MileSplit IN: Probably your biggest competition comes from Mikeisha Covington. You won't race her at HSR, since she's in the large school division and you're in the small, but how do you feel about your chances of beating her when it comes to outdoor season?

Killebrew: Mikeisha Covington is another person I met on the Indiana Storm. We've known each other for a long time and she's always been a talented runner. I'm excited about running outdoors, I believe in myself, and I know I'm capable of competing at a high level. When it comes to the outdoor season, my approach will be the same. If I work hard and focus on improving myself, I should be at the top of the local and national rankings.


MileSplit IN: Do you prefer indoor or outdoor season?

Killebrew: I definitely prefer outdoor season. I look at indoor season kind of like a preseason and preparation for outdoor season. I love warm weather and feel more developed as an athlete in outdoor.

MileSplit IN: What's your pre-race routine?

Killebrew: A week before competition, I make sure I eat, sleep and hydrate well. Every night before a race, I meditate to get my mind prepared and I will either take an ice bath or epsom salt bath. At a meet, I go through my normal drills and give myself plenty of time. I also make sure I'm having a good time. I try to keep a level head and not get too worked up about anything during a meet. That's too much wasted energy.

MileSplit IN:  While down in Lexington for the UK Invite, you also took a little visit. Talk to me a little about that. Why did you look at UK?

Killebrew: Right now, I'm enjoying the process of exploring colleges. Several colleges have reached out to me and it's been fun learning about them all. UK was my first unofficial visit because I knew that they had some of the top college girls in the nation in sprints and because of its proximity to Indy. UK also has a world renowned coach, Floreal Edrick, who I have been in contact with for the last couple months.


MileSplit IN: You're only a junior, but you are at the time when athletes and students start looking more seriously at college. What does your ideal school look like?

Killebrew: My ideal college has a balance between a great track and field program and strong academics. I value my education just as much as I value track, so having a good academic program is important to me. Staying close to Indiana is not important to me, but having a coach that I can connect to and build a strong relationship with is very important to me.


MileSplit IN: Have you been in any talks with schools? If so, which schools? Are there any in particular right now that you are more drawn towards than others?

Killebrew: There is no school that I am more drawn to right now. I'm keeping my options open until I have a chance to speak to coaches and take unofficial visits. So far, I have spoken with Stanford, USC, Kentucky, and Michigan. Other schools who have shown interest include Texas, Miami, Georgia, LSU, Alabama, TCU, and Tennessee.


MileSplit IN: How are your coaches and parents helping you navigate this time? Are they suggesting any certain schools or are you the one calling most of the shots?

Killebrew: My parents stress the importance of good education and we review college choices together, but I am the one calling most of the shots. I've been doing a lot of research on my own and getting an idea of what schools would be a better fit for me. I've had most of my initial conversations with coaches on my own, without my parents.


MileSplit IN: Out of all of the events you compete in, which one is your favorite and why?
Killebrew: I love the 100M because it goes by so fast and feels like pure adrenaline.


MileSplit IN:  If you could pick any other event on the track or even a field event to compete in, which would you choose and why?
Killebrew: I've always wanted to compete in long jump. I did when I was younger a couple of times, but never stuck with it. The idea of flying through the air to land in a pit full of sand just sounds entertaining.


MileSplit IN:  If you didn't compete in track, what do you think you would be doing?
Killebrew: As a kid I played a lot of sports and ended up giving them up to focus on track. If I was not doing track, I would probably be doing another sport like gymnastics or soccer.


MileSplit IN:  What do you do in your free time?
Killebrew: I love watching movies, listening to music, singing, hanging out with friends, and being around young kids and babies.


MileSplit IN: Who do you look up to?
Killebrew: From a track perspective, I definitely look up to Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce. Her size is very similar to mine (in fact, we're the same height) and she has done big things in track and field. A lot of my long-term goals, Pryce has already done. She's a 2x 100 Olympic gold medalist and a world champion in both the 100 and 200. She has consistently used her faith and confidence to get through times where she was completely doubted or seen as the underdog, which I can completely relate to.


MileSplit IN: Favorite meal/food?
Killebrew: I don't get to eat a lot of it, but I love steak!


MileSplit IN: Do you have any hidden talents?
Killebrew: I can draw really well and I can sing a little bit...