Freeman making strides at UCF
Knights’ freshman looks to make noise at indoor championships
Given her outstanding prep career, it was a reasonable guess that one day sprinter Octavious Freeman would meet with similar success on the collegiate level. Well for Freeman, a freshman, one day has been from Day One.
Her first two weeks competing she was named the Conference USA Women's Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week. That was the first any UCF track athlete to win that honor in consecutive weeks since the program's inaugural season in Conference USA in 2006.
There's more. It was at that second meet, the Auburn Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., that Freeman laid down a 7.23 in the 60-meters -- the best mark in the nation which was exactly the time she needed to automatically qualify for the NCAA Indoor championships next month in Nampa, Idaho. She is one of two to have qualified so far.
A wow-worthy start to a collegiate career, but she kind of telegraphed this.
At Lake Wales High School in Florida, she finished her senior season ranked first in the nation in the 100- and 200-meters. While there she picked up 10 individual gold medals during her four-year career, and became the third girls runner in Florida state history to win the state championship in the 100 and 200-meter races all four years of high school. She earned selection to USA Today's All-USA Track and Field Sprints team and was featured by ESPN.
"I didn’t think I was going to be able to come in here and dominate or anything like that," Freeman said. "I knew I was going to have to work towards it.”
Freeman's work has turned heads nationally. She has earned a spot on the Bowerman Watch List. Freeman, the first true freshman since the award's inception to be recognized on the list, also runs the 200 meters. Imagine what she'd have done if she was more used to indoor track.
"Yes [the award] was real nice," Freeman said. "I was surprised. I only ran one indoor meet in high school. On the banks, that was my first time running on those. It was a challenge and it was something different. Something I had to get used to."
Which has been evident so far this season? The banks have affected her as she has picked up a first and a second in the 60 and a third and sixth in the 200. She is still trying to figure it all out.
"I need to get better," Freeman said. "I just really feel I need to work on everything. Once you start working on one area, other things tend to get bad if you don’t pay attention to them. So I work on everything.
"It’s different now. I wouldn’t say it is tougher. It’s who wants it the most and who is willing to make the sacrifice. Up here you really have to concentrate on diet and doing all this extra stuff in order for your body to stay healthy. Because once you’re injured, that can mess up a lot."
So she's said goodbye to fried foods and hello to more baked foods and drink a lot of water. Her diet and her training have been a winning combination so far and she is sticking to it. There are goals to accomplish.
"I'm just going to stick with healthy stuff," Freeman said. "Cereals -- whole grain -- and making sure my body stays hydrated. All that extra stuff, and working hard.
"There is more I want. I’m looking toward C-USA [championships] and to be national champions as a team. Right now I'm not focusing on the Olympics or anything. I'm focusing on what I want to do in college and what I want to achieve. We’re ranked [No. 11] right now. It’s just some little things we have to do [to move up]. I feel our team is really ready this year. We are going to get done."