Vongsaveng runs into record books
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Mariyah Vongsaveng is a sophomore hurdler on the CWU track team. She has been running since her elementary days, and while she played other sports, running has always been her strength.
She might only be a sophomore, but she is already in the record books. She has the school and GNAC record for the 60 meter hurdles.
Vongsaveng did not run the hurdles in middle school and was mainly a sprinter.
She attended Federal Way High School where she had a very successful career.
“High school track was very fun, very fun time for me,” Vongsaveng said. “I did pretty well.”
She is a two-time state champion in the 100 hurdles and also a one-time 300 hurdles champion.
She spoke highly of being a college athlete and what it means to her.
“Being able to have this opportunity alone is just amazing. Not everybody gets the opportunity, so just being here [and] given a chance is really great.”
Vongsaveng also gave credit to those around her.
“Having my coaches and my teammates push me to like PR all the time,” Vongsaveng said. “Since high school it took me two years to PR. I PR’d here and it just felt really good. Ever since then I’ve just been you know going up, so it’s great.”
She had trouble figuring out where to go after high school.
“The recruiting process was pretty stressful, a lot of people in high school told me that I could go D-I and you can go far in life, you can be a division one athlete, and I knew I was capable of that,” Vongsaveng said. “But, it was more than just being a D-I athlete. It was just being a college athlete all together.”
She enjoys being at CWU for amenities that it provides.
“I like Central, it’s perfect for me,” Vongsaveng said. “The campus is pretty small, but it’s big enough. I’ve met a lot of my best friends here, and then the track team is amazing, that was a plus.”
Vongsaveng does more than one event. She has competed in the indoor 60 meter hurdles, long jump and the 4×400. Outdoors she does the 100 meter hurdles, 400 hurdles and 4×100.
This year Vongsaveng PR’d in the 60 meter hurdles and broke the GNAC record with a time of 8.51 seconds.
“It feels amazing, It’s a big, big, really big accomplishment.” Vongsaveng said. “I never thought I could do it. I didn’t know I was going to break my own school records, let alone the GNAC records.”
She had a moment to herself after reaching this accomplishment.
“I had to take it in, I was so speechless, I still can’t believe it,” Vongsaveng said.
She wants to keep moving forward, and knowing that there is someone out there better is what keeps her going to be the best.
“What motivates me is just wanting to be better, you should never be satisfied with where you’re at,” Vongsaveng said. “There is someone always better than you, you have train harder, work harder than your competition until you’re number one.”
Vongsaveng wants to do well personally, but believes that team accomplishments are just as important.
The indoor season is coming to an end, and Vongsaveng is ready for more success outdoors.
“I want to do well, I want to make it to GNAC’s, I want to make it to nationals,” Vongsaveng said. “Set the bar high for yourself, and you just go for it. Like I said, I want our team, I expect our team to be top three at GNAC’s outdoor.”
Head coach Kevin Adkisson thinks that Vongsaveng’s work ethic is what makes her special.
“It’s all about the amount of work she’s been willing to do,” Adkisson said. “We knew what her potential was, but she’s putting in the work to really live up to her potential.”
Her improvement has been there since the start of the season.
“I think every single meet this winter, she improved every single race, and then had the big break through last weekend. So that’s just a great reflection on how hard she works,” Adkisson said.
Her success on the track also helps the team get motivated as well.
“It’s exciting, the team rallies around that when they see those kind of performances. It gets everybody excited, and a little more inspired,” Adkisson said.
Assistant coach Brittany Aanstad had high praise for Vongsaveng.
“Very impressed, she’s only a sophomore, and she’s fourth in the nation currently, she’s beyond talented,” Aanstad said.
Aanstad also believes that she can compete with the nation’s best.
“The next girls are pretty far up there, but I think that she’s more than capable of running what they ran,” Aanstad said. “If not this indoor, then definitely next indoor season.”