Pilot in the spotlight: Madison Leek

By The Beacon | March 20, 2014 3:56am
Newcomer Madison Leek, a sprinter who has already set many records for UP Track and Field in the 2014 season. Photo by Katie Dunn

By Maggie Hannon |

Madison Leek



West Linn, OR

How was else would you distinguish Arizona from UP? What was it like coming here from that school?

Everyone is just a lot more friendly especially on the team side of things. Everyone is just a lot more encouraging and we all push each other really hard in practice just to get better. I feel like we’re all closer as a team.

You played soccer at Arizona, how is that transitioning into a different sport?

Soccer is a lot different because it’s more of like a team altogether playing everything and track is just you’re focusing more on your event. In practice, though we definitely work together as a team in the workouts so that is a little bit different. It’s mostly just an individual mindset for racing and stuff whereas for soccer it was more team involvement in the game.

Why did you transfer to Portland?

I’m originally from here and I found out, when I got recruited to play soccer at Arizona State, I just decided that soccer just wasn’t working out like injury wise. I had a couple injuries and I just wasn’t able to really play at that level anymore. So when I moved back here I looked into track as being an option for me and everything worked out with that.

How is track working out with your injuries now? Is it not affected by it?

Where it would go bad was soccer specific movements like kicking and cutting and stuff. That was bothering it. Track is just going really well so far and I’ve been able to manage everything really well.

What was going through your mind during and after the race where you set the record during the 400m dash?

For the 400m I ran it the week before, the week of my first indoor meet, and so for my second meet I was just really nervous. I just wanted to get out fast and beat the break in and I just kept that pace throughout the race and I just managed to get the record. I honestly didn’t really know afterwards that I got it. It kind of just happened afterwards and someone was like ‘oh by the way...’ so it was kind of one of those things.

You also set the record in the 600 meter race, how was that as well?

For the 600 that I ran a couple weeks ago, that was my first time running it so honestly my coach was just like go out there and have fun with it and I just kind of went out and ran it. Afterwards I found out I had broken the record and for both of them it was just like a cool, surreal moment. But I feel like with the records I don’t like to put too much emphasis on those because I’m more of just like I look forward to the next race and not looking back at it.

Does your family come to a lot of the meets since they live nearby?

My parents they try to come to any meet they can and they’ve already been to most of all the meets we’ve had this season already. It’s cool to see them there and have their support.

How was the change from high school to college?

Track in college is a lot more technical and there are a lot of things that I didn’t really know coming in form-wise and running-wise. But so far, already, I feel like I’ve been able to improve upon just a couple weeks ago when I first started up.

How do you feel about your practice space?

I don’t mind the indoor track. We’ve been practicing on it a lot lately with the snow and sometimes we’ll just stay close by for practice. It’s just nice to have a track close by, especially an indoor track because those aren’t as common around here. It’s not too bad to train on and it just gives us a good space when we can’t go outside.

What is your favorite event of all the ones you’ve raced?

I’d probably say the 400 meters because it’s kind of one of those races where you have to like go out fast and you have to maintain that the whole way so it’s like a really long sprint, but it’s just like a lot of mental sides to it that I like. It’s probably one of the more competitive races for me.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Portland?

I like going on hikes and being outdoors on a nice day.