As the CWU Track and Field indoor season comes to a close, some of the athletes on the team are gearing up for the NCAA DII Indoor National Championships. Seniors Samantha La Rue and Erykah Weems will be competing and representing CWU at the event.
Head coach Kevin Adkisson will be accompanying both La Rue and Weems as they compete on March 13-14 in Birmingham, Alabama. Adkisson said both athletes have been on the upswing. Adkisson is confident both of the athletes can improve or at least match marks they’ve achieved throughout the season.
“When you have an athlete like these two, who have been building through the season and producing great marks all the way up to the final meet, that just tells you they’re ready,” Adkisson said. “When [La Rue and Weems] go to the meet and continue to show that type of competition and improvement, they’re going to have a great chance to make the final.”
La Rue is competing in shot put.
To prepare for the championships, La Rue is sticking to the same practice plan she and her teammates did before the last meet. La Rue said the plan worked well for her and she feels as prepared as she can be for the championships.
“My main goal is to walk away and to not ever think that I didn’t do the best that I could,” La Rue said. “I want to make sure I show up and do all that I can. Whatever ends up happening will be awesome.”
La Rue is entering national championships ranked 14th in the country with a mark of 48 feet in the shot put. She hit this mark earlier this season at the NCAA DII Indoor Last Chance Qualifier. The throw was a personal record (PR), beating her previous best throw by over a foot.
The current leader in shot put nationally is senior Payton Roberts from Missouri Southern State University, with a throw of 52 feet, 11 inches.
Erykah Weems is competing in the 60-meter hurdles.
Weems said she is very excited for the upcoming meet and is hoping for the best. She said she has come a long way in the 60m hurdles and it is now one of her stronger events. It’s an event she feels prepared to compete in nationally.
“I know as long as I stay level headed, trust in my process, my coaching and in myself then I’ll be able to accomplish all I want to accomplish,” Weems said.
Weems enters the national championships ranked 12th nationally in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.61 seconds. Weems hit this time earlier this season at the GNAC Indoor Championships.
The current leader in the 60m hurdles nationally is freshman Denisha Cartwright from Central State University, Ohio, with a time of 8.49 seconds.
Indoor season is coming to a close, which means outdoor season for the track and field athletes at CWU is about to begin. Outdoor season allows track and field to widen the size of their roster, meaning more athletes get to actively compete.
Adkisson is looking forward to having all of his athletes competing in the outdoor season. He said the athletes have been training diligently and working hard to ensure they are ready to compete in the upcoming weeks. The track and field team is expected to have newcomers that will help the team take steps in the right direction. Adkisson said they are looking forward to the newcomers on both the men’s and women’s side who will contribute to the outdoor season.
“They’ve been working really hard and being really patient,” Adkisson said. “We’re excited to see what they’re ready to do.”
Adkisson is excited for the outdoor season for various reasons, one of them being the added events the outdoor season brings that the indoor season doesn’t have. Some events are the javelin, discus, 400m hurdles and the steeplechase.
“We have people in those events that can score,” Adkisson said. “That’s an exciting zone for us.”
Adkisson said the team is looking forward to competing against conference rival Western Washington University (WWU). Adkisson said a goal for the team is to reach WWU’s level of competition.
“We want to close that gap as best we can, and see if we can put some pressure on them,” Adkisson said.
During her outdoor season, La Rue’s main events are discus, shot put and hammer. She is looking forward to her final outdoor season. She is focusing on matching her indoor shot put mark and also wants to set a personal record in discus.
“It would be great to PR in discus,” La Rue said. “That’s something I’m going to be having some fun with.”
La Rue is focusing on staying healthy so she can compete well in the outdoor season. On top of La Rue striving to stay healthy and finishing her indoor season strong, she is also focusing on staying in touch with her teammates who have already been training for outdoor. She does this by asking her outdoor teammates about their own personal goals, how they are feeling and if they’re having fun outside.
“I’m just making sure I’m still connected,” La Rue said. “It’s great to hear those updates and know we’re all still working for the same goals.”
Weems is looking forward to seeing how their 4×400 relay will compete in the outdoor season. She is hoping to go to the NCAA DII Outdoor National Championships in the 400m hurdles. Weems is also looking forward to the 100m hurdles, an event she didn’t get to compete in during her indoor season.
“It should be a really great transition,” Weems said. “I’m feeling really strong and very confident within the race.”
Weems is striving to stay as healthy as possible. This is to ensure she is ready to compete in her outdoor season once she finishes the last of her indoor season.
“I’m listening to my body and making sure I’m going to the trainers,” Weems said. “I’m looking forward to it for sure.”
Weems is excited to be competing alongside some of her teammates in the outdoor season. Weems said her teammates are great competitors and create a great atmosphere, which has been building their new program.
“Those ladies are always an honor and a pleasure to run with,” Weems said. “They bring so much to the team.”