Siedda Herbert finds herself in a mood for reflection after the LSU ladies track team placed third Saturday in the NCAA Indoor Meet in Fayetteville, Ark.
Four years after she became the first Port Allen High School track performer to sign with LSU, Herbert still feels like she’s living a dream.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else but here, sharing these moments with these great women,” she said.
Herbert also realizes she’s not far from the finish line.
The Lady Tigers finished third behind champion Oregon and runner-up Kansas. It marked Herbert’s final NCAA indoor meet.
“We expected first, of course, but it’s a national championship meet, so anything can happen,” said Herbert, now halfway through her senior year. “Things didn’t go as expected, but we still had a great meet.”
Herbert was part of a 4x400 relay that finished fifth place with a timing of 3:34.07. Nikita Tracey, Montenae Roye-Speight and Natoya Goule also competed on the relay team.
ESPNU will also air a two-hour tape-delay broadcast of the 2013 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships on Sunday, from 6-8 p.m. CT.
The national indoor meet leads the way to the outdoor competition, which will mark the final stretch for Herbert.
The scholarship for one of the nation’s top track programs ranks as one of the biggest thrills in Herbert’s life. She wasn’t sure she’d fit in the program at the beginning.
“I had reservations about being the little fish in a big pond,” she said. “At Port Allen, everyone knew me, so coming here at first was very rough on me.
It’s a much different picture four years later.
“Now, my coach (Dennis Shavers) has given me the title of team captain,” Herbert said. “I’m doing all I can to lead my team to the outdoor national championship.
“Coach Shavers always said it’s nice to run track in college, but coming to LSU is very prestigious and it’s been that way many years now,” Herbert said. “I was in awe when I first came here to see the number of track and field program this program has won. It’s very prestigious.”
Herbert believes the best days of her career may come this spring.
“I struggled with my knee last year, but it’s doing much better now,” she said. “I needed time off last year. Track is nine months, so I think it was just a lot on my knee.”
She also believes the team has worked out kinks internally that will make the national championship a greater possibility.
“We’ve enjoyed the bonding process this year,” Herbert said. ”It wasn’t the case last year, but we’re really a team this year.
“There are no cliques here – we’re just a team,” she said. “It really makes a difference. No drama. We’re more open.”
Herbert has no intention of pursuing the Olympics after she finishes her collegiate run.
“I’ve done this since seventh grade when I was with Eddie Payne,” she said. “I’ve been able to win a national title and be the woman I should be.”
Herbert may pursue a career in the sports industry once she finishes college, but she’s far from a decision.
She wants to spend time out of state after her graduation.
“I want to get a different experience,” Herbert said. “I want to start anew in another state and get a fresh start.”