Jaryd Cline, Staff Reporter - January 30, 2013
In just her first two track and field meets as a Wildcat, junior Becki Duhamel has already solidified herself as a threat to compete for a championship in the weight throw and discus events. Duhamel cracked the GNAC all-time top-ten list in the weight throw after just her first meet this season.
Duhamel hasn’t always donned a Wildcat jersey while competing. After spending two years competing among some of the best athletes on the east coast while attending Lehigh University Duhamel decided to transfer closer to home.
Growing up, track and field was an afterthought to Duhamel. Competing in sports such as basketball, soccer and figure skating. Duhamel’s track and field career began while she was in middle school and nearly ended there.
“When I went into high school I did tennis at first,” said Duhamel. “I wanted to go back to track because my sister was doing track and I wanted to spend more time with her.”
After participating in the state tournament for discus in three consecutive seasons, Duhamel decided to attend Lehigh University 2689 miles away in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Having her sister attend Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and having many family members in the Connecticut area made the choice to attend Lehigh easier for Duhamel.
“I really wanted to go back there to experience all the family I have there,” Duhamel said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity.”
After two years of attending Lehigh, Duhamel made the decision to return home and continue her track and field career in Ellensburg. Spending two years on the east coast helped Duhamel realize that the east coast just wasn’t what she expected it to be. Duhamel didn’t leave Lehigh quietly; she left as the University’s all-time leader in the discus throw with a distance of 45.4 meters.
“I definitely missed my parents in Wenatchee a lot,” Duhamel said. “That’s one of the reasons I came back.”
Duhamel’s coach for two years at Lehigh decided not to return this season, giving Duhamel even more reason to transfer.
“My coach ended up taking a different job in Massachusetts, and that was kind of like the final straw that I wanted to come back here,” Duhamel said. “It was great to have that opportunity to compete in a division I sport.”
Duhamel started out her GNAC career with a bang, ranking No . 7 on the GNAC top-ten record list for the weight throw after her first throw of the season with a mark of 15.97 meters. At the Vandal Open Duhamel broke her record from the week before by throwing the 20-pound implement a provisional national qualifying 16.45 meters. Duhamel also finished fifth in the shot put, missing a GNAC top ten mark in that event by ¾ inch with a put of 42-6 ¼ inches. Duhamel was rewarded a week later by winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s Field Athlete of the Week.
Having different coaches has impacted the way Duhamel has been competing this year.
“My coach has a lot of different techniques than my coach at Lehigh did and so it’s been tough changing but at the same time it’s still making a big difference,” Duhamel said.
Going into the season Duhamel has already achieved one of her pre-season goals. For the weight toss Duhamel’s goal was to hit the national provisional mark, which she accomplished in her second meet as a Wildcat. Her goal for the shot put is to throw for a distance of 13.5 meters, which is also a provisional mark.
Off the track field Duhamel is hoping to major in business administration with a specialization in supply chain management, hoping that one day she finds herself working for Boeing. During the season, Duhamel is often swamped with work, having to balance multiple classes along with daily practices and workouts.
“My social life is not very existent right now,” Duhamel said. “But that’s okay because track is what I want to do and I’m okay with having to give up a little bit here and there.”