Low-key White lets actions speak for her

by Allison Younge

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — At the University of Illinois Track and Field Stadium on Saturday a hurdle barrier was broken. The culprit: a quiet, low-profile sophomore hurdler named Yvette White.
In the 100 meter hurdles preliminary race, White sprung out of the blocks and mastered the hurdle rhythm steps to clock a 13.99, setting the Gophers’ new fastest 100 hurdle time.
“It was one of my goals coming in,” White said. “I got past it.”
The Big Ten Championship meets have proven successful for White for the past two seasons. She earned the top position in Gophers history last year in the 100 hurdles by clocking a 14.06.
As someone who leads by example, White is oftentimes overlooked as being a sprinting standout. But her stats prove she can compete with the best. During the past two seasons she has not only set and broken her own 100 record, but she also holds the second-best time in the 400 hurdles.
“Yvette is a first-class kid,” Gophers coach Gary Wilson said. “All of her teammates have a ton of respect for her. She works hard and doesn’t complain. I think they really look up to her.”
White competed in four separate events for the Gophers on Sunday and earned 11 1/2 of the Gophers’ 63 team points in the process. As the anchor of the 4×100 relay team, she drove the final leg to a third-place finish.
The 100 hurdles were next. A focused mentality was again needed to keep pace with the competition. White finished fifth, clocking a 14.02 — .03 seconds shy of her record set the day before.
“I’m happy with that time,” White said. “It’s slower than yesterday, but that comes with being tired after running all day.”
White called upon the Gophers’ trainer for a quick muscle massage before the 400 hurdles. With the short sprints completed, she appeared fresh for the grueling race. The gun sounded and 1:00.72 later, White had earned another third-place finish.
Less than an hour later, White once again took the baton as the anchor leg of the 4×400 relay. Even though a line default was called on the first-leg runner and a disqualification given, White finished her day as the relays anchor runner, clocking a 3:51.22.
“It takes a special athlete to be able to draw positive energy and do well in several events,” Wilson said.
Going into Big Tens, White understood her four-event lineup, and welcomed it without complaint. After it was over, clouded by a look of fatigue, she said with a smile, “I feel great. I’m glad I’m done, and I can finally relax now.”