‘Ali’-around athlete hits her stride
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With the indoor track season only a few weeks in, junior Ali Anderson is well on her way to reaching goals she never imagined.
At the WSU Open this past weekend, Anderson posted the fasted GNAC time so far this season in the 800-meter, and a National Championship provisional, with an official time of 2:15.99, according to a press release by Central Athletics.
The time is a new personal best for Anderson and also earned her the title of GNAC Women’s “Track Athlete of the Week.”
“It’s exciting to be recognized,” Anderson said, but she isn’t stopping there. “I want to go to Nationals in the 800.”
Running a time like that was something Anderson never really planned on doing, but she is proud of her provisional time nonetheless.
“It’s really exciting,” Anderson said. “It’s been a goal for two years.”
Anderson describes getting the text that she had a National provisional qualifying time as the stand-out moment in her track career thus far.
Anderson began running at age 12 and eventually choose to pursue her track career over culinary school. Although, she still cooks and bakes outside of practicing up to five days a week. She was recruited to CWU by head coach Kevin Adkisson and assistant coach Brittany Aanstad.
“Ali is a talented athlete with the kind of potential that we want in an athlete,” Adkisson said, “She’s dedicated and focused and she leads by example.”
Adkisson has been coaching at CWU for 25 years.
“The big goal is to get her to Nationals,” Adkisson said. “Last year she got close. This year we want to get her there.”
Anderson competes in a multitude of events including the 800-meter, long jump and the heptathlon. Heptathlon is an event combining the scores from seven events: 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter. Anderson believes competing in heptathlon is the reason she found her niche in both the 800 and
“I would have never guessed I’d be doing long distance if you’d asked me five years ago,” she said. “It picked me.”
Anderson’s favorite events include the 800, unsurprisingly, and long jump because of the amount of technique that goes into each jump.
“I liked that [track] was individual and I could push myself,” Anderson said.
Fellow heptathlon competitor HarLee Ortega first met Anderson in 2014 and is now one of her closest teammates.
“She has a lot of willpower,” Ortega said. “She’s a strong leader and a good teammate overall.”
Anderson’s new focus will be on taking the 800 all the way to nationals. There are still meets in between, but there is a good chance she will achieve her goals.
Before each event she says a prayer to give her all and make it through without injury.
For Anderson and athletes like her, winning isn’t the goal, but giving their best is.