It’s been a couple days since I competed at the USATF Outdoor National Championships in Eugene, OR. I am still trying to sort through all the emotions from the 20 days I spent on the west coast.
I arrived in Eugene on Monday, June 8th. I was preparing to compete in my very last NCAA D1 National Championship meet. When I got to Eugene I felt a mixture of excitement and nerves. NCAA’s is always a bit of a high pressure meet, as everyone wants to perform their very best and win a national title. I was going into the meet with the number one throw in the NCAA. I had spent the entire season at the top of the TFRRS list. However, for those that are familiar with throwing (and track and field in general), you know that all it takes is one. All it takes is one person connecting on a throw, and it’s over. Unfortunately for me, I was unable to connect on that one throw. I had another consistent meet over 67m, which I have been over 67m at every meet this year except one. I finished the meet in 3rd, which is definitely not how I wanted to end my senior season. I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought about that day every day since. I would be lying if I said I don’t replay it over, and over, thinking about all the things I could’ve, should’ve and would’ve done differently. I know I can’t go back and change that day, but I can use what I learned from that meet in the future.
After NCAAs finished, my coach and I spent the following week training at University of Washington in Seattle, WA. We decided to stay on the west coast in hopes of getting better training days in. I think we made the right choice because we had beautiful weather, 70 and sunny almost every day; while back home, there was a ton of rain and storms. We got back to Eugene on June 23rd and got our last couple of days of training in before the meet Saturday.
Prior to the meet, I had a very solid week of training that consisted of some practice personal bests with a few of the different weighted hammers I throw. I was feeling really good, and excited to see if I could get ahold of a throw at this meet. I knew that if I was able to really connect on one, the opportunity to make another USA team was possible. My ultimate goal was to make finals. In the two other times that I have competed at the USATF Outdoor National Championships I finished 11th (2013) and 10th (2014). Ironically, I threw the exact same mark both years (63.64m).
So fast forward to Saturday morning. I got a good breakfast in and headed to the track to check in. I hung out under the tent to try to stay out of the heat, and waited for it to be time to head down to the ring. On the way out to the field, I almost felt a sense of deja vu. I think it was because 16 days earlier I was walking out to the same ring to compete. Warm ups started and I made sure to get in the ring three times. I was the 3rd thrower in the 2nd flight. I went in for my first throw, 67.27m. It felt a little bit forced, and I wasn’t moving very well out of the beginning of the throw, so I felt encouraged that there was more there. Unfortunately, once again I was unable to really connect on a big throw, so I finished the meet in 8th place with 67.27m as my best mark of the day. I was a mixture of emotions. I was happy that I made finals for the first time in my career, but bummed that I was unable to improve my mark.
I am back home now, and have had a little bit of time to reflect on my trip and the things that I have learned. I am the type of person who believes that everything happens for a particular reason. Even though sometimes it’s difficult to understand why, with time everything becomes more clear. I am going to be patient and continue to work hard and trust that my time is coming. I will use the disappointment I felt to fuel me for next season. I would like to congratulate the girls who made the USA World team and will be competing in Beijing at the end of August. Amber Campbell, Deanna Price, and Amanda Bingson, I’m super excited for the three of you and I know you will all represent our country well. Until next time, thanks for reading!