The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Q & A With Izzi Batt-Doyle

Q: So you’re very new to the United States; what are your first impressions of this country?

A: I am new, I’ve only been here for a month. So far, I really like America and I love St. John’s. My impressions are it’s a very patriotic country; that’s just one thing I’ve noticed.

Q: Did you envision what New York would be like and has it lived up to your expectations?

A: I’ve never been to Queens, but I’ve been to Manhattan on holiday once and really enjoyed it. The parks and skyscrapers are quite nice; also I’ve had a chance to catch the subway and explore around. I’ve also ran in Central Park and got a chance to take in the city like a true tourist.

Q: In your mind, what are the major differences between your native Australia and the United States?

A: In America sports are so much bigger; young athletes can really start at a young age, while in Australia I didn’t really have a high school team. I had an outside coach and had to seek it out myself.

Q: What made you come to St. John’s?

A: I chose St. John’s because I heard the Big East conference is really strong, which is going to be really good for me. Me and Coach Hurt also went back and forth via e-mail, which really helped my decision. Also, a location like New York City is just great. I’m excited to live here over the next four years.

Q: So far, what’s your favorite thing about St. John’s?

I just love the atmosphere and the people, everyone is so nice. I like that it’s small enough to be personal in the classroom. The independence is also nice; it’s quite the perfect fit.

Q: Any favorite food yet? How are you liking Montgoris?

A: If you choose the right things it can be fine. My diet is lacking a lot of fruits and vegetables at the moment. I’m eating a lot of pasta and bread. It’s very different from what I’m used to eating back home. You have to be careful what you eat and try not to stock up on the pizza.

Q: Describe how it felt leaving Australia, leaving your family and friends and starting college in a foreign country?

A: It was very hard saying goodbye to my friends and family. But it’s an experience I couldn’t pass up. It’s a great opportunity, which will definitely have its ups and downs, but I’ll make sure to go back on holidays.

Q: Sort of switching gears to education. You attended Seymour College, which is one of Australia’s most successful schools. Sort of a vague question, but describe the boarding school experience.

A: I loved school back home. I went to an all-private girls school, so there was quite a lot of tradition. Very different from the typical high school setting and from what I’ve heard most American schools are like out here. People freak out when I tell them we had to wear uniforms, play bagpipes and march on sportsday.

Q: Also at Seymour you specialized in the steeplechase. You also broke some of your personals bests; can you describe what it’s like to get a personal best time?

A: One particular time I can remember is when I ran a personal best at my home stadium at an interclub meet. It was just amazing to cross the line then see the time and realize how well I had done—a great feeling of achievement. The endorphins you get are the best feeling in the world.

Q: You were recently named South Australia’s Under 20 Track & Field Female Athlete of the Year, that’s incredible! What does such a huge honor like that mean to you? 

A: I was really happy to get that award, it was really exciting. It just showed that I had a really good season for track. Coming over here I was pretty confident in my abilities but I still have a lot to work on.

Q: You finished as runner-up at the Australia National Under 20 level, explain what it feels like to be one of the best young runners coming out of Australia?

A: That was a bittersweet race. I just missed first by a half second so that was pretty devastating. Also that half-second cost me a spot on the Australian team in the Junior Championships. But I stay positive; it’s a learning experience.

Q: How does it feel to accomplish all these feats at the young age of 18? Isn’t that incredible to think about?

A: I don’t think of my accomplishments too much. I just love running and I do it because I love it. That’s the main reason that drives me.

Q: The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Tokyo Olympics are both in sight; describe what it would feel like to represent your country in the Olympics.

A: The Commonwealth games are my main focus. When I graduate in 2018 the games are just starting up. So every race I run, I envision meeting that goal. Tokyo is also in sight but that’s a bit down the road. If I achieve my small goals, the big goals will come.

Q: What’s your training regime like? How do you stay fit when you’re not racing?

A: I’m racing all the time. I switch back and forth from cross-country and track so I’m always training.

Q: How is the team looking this year?

A: We’ve got a really good team; we’re just trying to improve as a unit. The team looks real strong this year. Lots of athletes can cross over and do both track and cross-country, which is key.

Q: Describe your relationship with Coach Hurt and the girls on the team.

A: Coach Hurt reminds me of my coach back home. He’s been great to me so far. He’s helped me adjust to life here and I feel I can trust in him to get me where I want to go.

Q: Talk a little bit more about the team chemistry; is this a close-knit team?

A: Some of the seniors like Chelsea, and a few of the juniors have given me tips like where to eat around here, how to deal with workout, how to deal with meal exchange, professors and work. It’s been great.

Q: How have your teammates helped you adjust to life in America?

A: Coming here I was a little scared having a bunch of older girls not liking me, but everyone’s been so nice, so supportive and so welcoming. I already feel at home here.

Q: Being a freshman, you’re one of the younger girls on the team; describe your expectations and tell me your goals for the upcoming season.

A: Obviously, I’m excited be I’ve got four years ahead of me. I don’t necessarily have to prove myself right now. I’ve got time to work on it. I just want to run and do the best I can for the team.

Q: Talk a little bit about your love for cross-country and how you got into the sport? 

A: My sisters got me into running. I wasn’t too good when I started but it was more of a confidence booster for me. After a while I started to get better and better. Then I made my first national team when I was 10. It’s been a huge part of my life ever since.

Q: What’s your mindset or game plan heading into a competition?

A: I just try and stay positive. I’ve got used to winning in South Australia, but coming here I really don’t want to be winning early in my career. I want people pushing me and I want to learn more. I just want to be the best I can be.

Q: Do you have any strange rituals before a race?

A: I try to do the same drills and warm-ups before every race. Usually I have pasta beforehand as well.

Q; I’m a sneakerhead, which means I love shoes. What joggers do you prefer and why?

A: I’ve always trained in Oasics; they provide cushion and nice running experience, which I like. I have about six pairs of them.

Q: Also, I heard that you wanted to make an e-book. Tell me a little bit more about that idea

A: I used to have quite a healthy diet; also I’m a qualified personal trainer. Me and another person got some breakfast recipes out and thought it would be fun.

Q; What’s on your pre-race playlist?

A: “Chariots of Fire” has been my favorite song recently. It helps me get in the zone. Upbeat songs give me energy. But it depends what I like at the time.

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