Four CWU athletes head to nationals

Simo Rul, Staff Reporter`

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The CWU track and field team is sending four athletes to the NCAA Indoor Championship this weekend in Birmingham, Alabama.

The four athletes are senior Luke Plummer, senior Kodiak Landis, senior McKenna Emmert and sophomore Mariyah Vongsaveng.

Plummer, who went to nationals last year, but missed out last year, will be competing in the triple jump. He finished second at the Seattle Pacific final qualifier with a score of 14.68 meters. Plummer also finished first at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships with a score of 15.06 meters.

This will be Plummer’s last indoor meet.

“Just give it everything I got,” Plummer said. “[I’d] like to get all-American again, maybe be in the running for a title. I know the guy in first, his jumps are out there, so I know it’s a little farfetched, but just give it the best I got.”

He has some top finishes, an important thing for him is to approach this meet like all of the other ones.

“Obviously compete the best I can, but have fun. I want to make the most out of it, just enjoy the time,” Plummer said.

Going to the championship is something Plummer knows he could do.

“I know I’ve put the work in, been to nationals before, so it’s not too much of a surprise. It’s just always been an expectation for me,” Plummer said.

He is excited for nationals, but to be ready for the final indoor meet he has some injuries to take care of.

Kodiak Landis is participating in the men’s heptathlon. He finished first at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships with 5,269 points and is expecting big things from himself in the upcoming meet.

“It’s great, it’s been a long time coming, I set this goal last year after conference and said I wanted to be there and be an All-American, so hopefully I can maintain that,” Landis said.

He has some goals going into the national meet.

“I’m sitting number five right now, so just kind of got to maintain my ground, hopefully move up a few spots,” Landis said. “Other than that just another PR, hopefully break 5300 points.”

Carrying positive momentum from meet to meet is important.

“It’s huge, every hep[tathlon] I’ve done this year, has placed me higher and higher in the rankings, and I just need to be reassured that I can still long jump, I can still get better in every event,” Landis said.

Knowing that he can compete with the nation’s best helps him gain confidence for things that have yet to happen.

“It’s a great mental boost and I think it’ll carry on into the future knowing I’ve done this, and I’ve accomplished so much up to this point,” Landis said. “Now I get to really play with the big boys.”

He is looking forward to nationals.

“I think the whole experience of being at the national meet will really put my mind where it needs to be,” Landis said. “Getting onto that field, warming up the day before, and all that kind of stuff.”

McKenna Emmert is a pole vaulter. She finished second at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships with a jump of 12 feet and 0.5 inches and fourth at the final qualifier with a jump of 11 feet and 10.5 inches.

This season has been a good one for Emmert because she has been able to put it all together and keep her jumps at 12 feet or over, Emmert said.

It’s important for Emmert to keep her mind on what she can do and not what others are doing.

“As long as I go in technically sound, everything will be fine,” Emmert said. “Usually when I start to think about winning, think about the competitors, everything goes downhill for me. If I go in thinking about myself. I think I’ll be fine.”

She keeps in mind what she has done at other meets,how she did it, and watches video in order to keep her routine the same,” Emmert said.

The key for her is to keep her head up and know that she has earned a spot to compete at the national meet.

“Just stay positive, knowing that I’ve worked my butt off to be here, and knowing that I belong there, and there’s nobody there that should be able to beat me, if I do everything that I know how to do right,” Emmert said.

Mariyah Vongsaveng broke her own school record, and the GNAC record, in the 60 meter hurdles at the final qualifier with a time of 8.66 seconds. She finished fourth at the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships with a time of 9.04 seconds. She is happy with the way she has prepared and has some goals set going into nationals.

“My goal is to get top eight, which means all-American, so really looking to get that top eight,” Vongsaveng said.

Taking momentum from previous races helps her keep in a good rhythm going nationals, Vongsaveng said.

Vongsaveng has not been to a national meet before.

“It’s a really, really big opportunity. It’s scary, this is my first time, so we’ll see what happens,” Vongsaveng said.

She expressed how she feels going into nationals, but also competing with the nation’s best athletes.

“Am I nervous? That’s an understatement, super, super, super nervous. This is the best of the best, good competition is going to make me better,” Vongsaveng said.

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Four CWU athletes head to nationals