With Nationals in sight, track and field athletes look to get better during COVID-19 restrictions


CWU Athletics

Megan Smallbeck earned All-Region honors in the weight throw based on her performances in 2019.

Dakaline White, Staff Reporter

2020’s COVID-19 cancellations forced track and field athletes to take extra time off, but they are now gearing up for a hopeful 2021 spring outdoor season that will help them attain big goals. 

At the end of indoor season in March 2020, the track and field team were informed that the spring outdoor season was going to be canceled.

Junior thrower Meagan Smallbeck placed second in the conference last season and hit the national provisional mark. 

“I was riding a high at the end of indoor and then we were all getting geared up and ready for this meet on March 13-14 and then we got word we weren’t going to be able to have fans,” Smallbeck said. 

During finals week, the team got word that the GNAC had canceled spring season. Smallbeck ended up leaving the library after studying for her class finals to meet up with some of her teammates at the field. 

“It was so somber because all of us had just seen what we worked so hard for go away,” Smallbeck said.

Junior distance runner Molly Mattson said she was shocked when she found out the season was canceled. Mattson’s father is a high school track and field coach, so she has been around the track her whole life. 

“It took a couple days to realize what had actually happened. It was a little disappointing,” Mattson said. “It made us all realize you can’t take anything for granted and every day you get to race and compete and represent your school you have really got to take it as it comes and be thankful for each day because you never know when it will all be done.” 

Next season, Mattson’s goals include uniting the team and building a stronger sense of family. 

“Another goal would be just coming back stronger. I would love to go to nationals before I graduate. Also, representing the university to the best of my ability.” Mattson said. “I just want to do everything I can to make them proud and represent them the best I can.” 

Smallbeck, who specializes in the hammer throw, said she is in her final years in track. Her sophomore year of high school, Smallbeck and her dad got her into a private hammer throw coaching club and started practicing with them. She spent her weeks practicing shotput and discus with her high school team and her weekends practicing with her hammer team. 

Building off of freshman and sophomore year at CWU, Smallbeck said her goal is nationals for this year. 

Ending the season last year Smallbeck threw 161 feet in the hammer throw event. 

Smallbeck looks to reach a new personal record with the national mark being 170 feet.

“That should be easy for me. My coach and I were talking today, and he was hoping for 180 (feet). I think with hard work we can make it,” Smallbeck said.

With meet dates still up in the air, Smallbeck and Mattson said they are taking advantage of the time off due to COVID-19 to get better every day using nationals as motivation to work hard.