Landis continues to enjoy track
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For anyone who grew up participating in a sport, remembering to have fun can fall by the wayside. Kodiak Landis, junior decathlete for CWU, continually carries his admiration for the sport as he competes in his second season of indoor track.
“I love the aspect that it’s personal,” Landis said. “You only get out of it what you put in, you really get to be the determining factor of your success.”
Landis graduated from Snohomish High School in 2013 and spent a year at Everett Community College (EVCC) before coming to CWU. One of the assistant coaches at EVCC, Norman Warren, ran track at CWU and pushed Landis to explore his options.
[Coach Warren] “was really pushing for me to continue and tried to set me up here and I did end up here,” Landis said. “I just asked him about the campus and it seemed that he thought it’d be a good fit.”
Because of the restriction of being indoors in the winter, decathlon -which consists of 10 events- is not a category, instead it’s replaced with the heptathlon which consists of seven events. The heptathlon takes place over two days, where competitors run the 60 meter, 60 meter hurdles, 1000 meter, throw shot put and leap for the high jump, long jump and pole vault. Each event in the heptathlon is scored out of 1000, with a total of 7000 points possible.
“I’m notorious for letting track become my life,” Landis said. “I get really caught up on focusing all my energy on track. My dad is the best advocate against it. I’ll call him and he’ll be like, ‘Hey, remember that it’s fun. When you’re grinding out a workout remember that you’re having fun’. That’s his biggest thing, even when it’s hard, it’s fun … I think about how much fun I’ve had in the past. I think about where I want to be. That drive is fun for me, wanting to be better.”
Landis is currently ranked number one in the conference in the heptathlon with a point total of 5269 that he obtained at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 17 and 18. This score currently places him fifth in Division II as well, putting him in good position to compete at the Division II Track and Field National Championships.
“It keeps the mindset of focusing,” Landis said. “But the variety of the workouts I do and the events… Like if I had a not so great day at hurdles practice, I’m going go and throw shotput later. It’s always staying fresh and you get to be diverse in what you’re doing and the groups you’re hanging out with.”
Michael Forster, a sophomore multi-event athlete who is competing in his first season of indoor track, also competes in the heptathlon with Landis. Forster currently is placed fifth in the GNAC with a point total of 4534.
“Me and Kodiak are pretty good friends,” Forster said. “It’s fun to have someone to keep you mentally accountable. For instance, I’ve done a couple of [heptathlons] when I’m the only one. So it’s kind of cool to have a teammate go out and do better than you and you can build off that vibe.”
In addition to the Heptathlon, Landis also competes in pole vault and the 60 meter where he placed sixth and eighth respectively at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Kyler Ooley, sophomore sprinter who, like Forster, is competing in his first indoor season, placed second in the 60 meter at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships. He values the time he gets to spend with Landis at practice and at meets.
“Kodiak is a great guy, he’s fun to work with,” Ooley said. “It’s exciting every time [at meets], him and I battle. It was fun this season, it was my first indoor season competing against him, which is a cool experience. He’s someone who’s ranked in the nation in his respected events, seeing him go off and do all those things is pretty incredible. I’m excited for him in the indoor championships.”
Despite the pressure of doing well at nationals in the heptathlon (he and the coaching staff decided not to register him for the 60 meter even with his score qualifying), Landis is still concentrated on remembering the real reason he competes.
“Track is fun, that’s all I can say,” Landis said. “I’m pretty happy to be where I’m at. If you had told me five or six years ago, I would’ve called you a liar.”