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DURHAM, N.C. - The Duke track and field team begins 2013 by splitting and competing at Hokie Invitational in Blacksburg, Va., and the Dick Taylor Invitational in Chapel Hill, N.C. on January 18-19.  Recently, GoDuke.com sat down with senior sprinter LaCresha Styles to learn more about the Acworth, Ga., native.   

GoDuke.com: What is your favorite part about being a Duke student-athlete?
LaCresha Styles: "I think my favorite part is the camaraderie in all of the different sports. We get together two or three times a year. We have events together. There is a lot of support between the administration and a lot of the athletes, with the academic and athletics. They put together a lot of motivational speakers. I think that is one of the best things that I like about being a student-athlete."

GoDuke.com: What has been your favorite class at Duke?
LS: "I have a couple. First of all, I took a class last fall on science fiction and film. I really liked that class, because it teaches you a lot about the human condition and the inherit theories we have about being human, what makes us human. You get to bring in a lot of the social historical backgrounds that influence each film, either consciously or subconsciously. We talk about that and how people feel, sort of being human, about the government at the time, social influences. Also, I like Professor [Victor] Strandberg's class, American Literature. I don't like American Literature, but I loved his class. That guy is amazing and he gave me a new appreciation for it, which I feel like that is what college classes are supposed to do."

GoDuke.com:  What has been your most challenging class at Duke?
LS: "My most challenging class would have to be Math 31. They changed the numbers this year, so I am not sure exactly what that is now. Math 31 was definitely difficult for me, I am an English major. I am a big word nerd, so I definitely struggle a little bit in a math class. It was really fun and a lot of my teammates were in that class. It was really rewarding and the professor was amazing. He kind of helped me through it and I came out with a pretty good grade."

GoDuke.com: Tell us about the time when you first started playing your sport.
LS: "I first started running track when I was eight. My family was really big into sports, so pretty much all of my cousins played sports. At the time, I was an only child and my sister was born or was one. My mom said you have to do something. I tried T-ball, which I couldn't hit, I couldn't catch, but I could run really fast. My mom put me in track and it was all downhill from there."

GoDuke.com:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
LS: "I wanted to be anything and everything. One week it was a veterinarian, the next it was a doctor, writer, singer, dancer. I never wanted to be a ballerina or princess or anything like that. I was a pretty big tom-boy."

GoDuke.com: What do you want to be now?
LS: "Honestly, I still have no idea. I am still really interested in English, literature and stuff like that.  I am also really interested in the Japanese culture, so I am trying to get into a program in Japan and then I will apply for some master's programs. We will see where it goes from there."

GoDuke.com: Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
LS: "My mom. I know that is kind of cliché to say, but she really has. When I wanted to quit track when I was 13, she was like 'well, why?' I tried to give her reasons and really they weren't reasons, they were excuses. I was tired of going to practice; I was tired of waking up early for track meets. She pushed me and motivated me to continue on and keep going. It has gotten me really far and I have a really deep appreciation for her."

GoDuke.com:  What's your favorite midnight snack?
LS: "My favorite midnight snack is Welch's Fruit Snacks. You can ask anyone on my team and they will tell you that I eat three or four of those a day. I eat them at practice, before I go to bed sometimes. If I don't have time for breakfast, I will actually grab a pack."  

GoDuke.com: Do you have any hidden talents?
LS: "I can count to 10 in five different languages. I don't know if that is really a hidden talent, but I am proud of it."

d-u-k-e


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