CWU thrower continues to impress

Courtesy of CWU Athletics

Courtesy of CWU Athletics

Jake Hassebrock, Staff Reporter

Senior CWU track athlete Meagan Smallbeck was recently recognized as female track athlete of the week by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), marking the second time this season she has received the honor.

Over the course of her athletic career, Smallbeck has worked hard to improve and grow into the athlete she is today.

Smallbeck was introduced to track and field, and throwing events specifically, by her father who was a coach. 

“One day in fourth grade he was like, Meagan you should try shotput … so I picked it up and beat all the sixth graders while I was a fourth grader,” Smallbeck recalled.

Smallbeck explained that she also performed well in the hammer throw during her sophomore year of high school, stating that she placed second the first time she ever tried the event.

“I kind of just caught onto the sport really naturally,” Smallbeck said.

Smallbeck said she struggled in her first few meets at the collegiate level, which affected her confidence.

“Coming in, I had a lot of mental blocks to overcome.” Smallbeck said. 

According to Smallbeck, throwing events in track and field are more about mentality than physical ability, so her initial difficulties with her mindset during competitions were the beginning of an on-going challenge. 

“I always tell people that throwing in track is 70% mental and 30% physical,” Smallbeck said. 

Last fall, Smallbeck faced additional mental struggles from her personal life when her mom was diagnosed with cancer. The diagnosis weighed heavily on Smallbeck, but she continued to fight and find a way to move forward.

Smallbeck said she learned a lesson from working through her mom’s cancer battle.

 “Despite these circumstances around me, I can still succeed,”Smallbeck said.

Smallbeck said she began to figure out how to maintain the right headspace during competitions, which led to improvements in performance. These improvements have led Smallbeck to being in the top 40 NCAA Division II athletes in the nation last season, and now two GNAC athlete of the week awards so far this season.

“Even if she were struggling at times, she could persevere through it,” said CWU track and field assistant coach Wyatt Meyring. “The hard work would always pay off for her too.”

Meyring has worked with Smallbeck since her freshman year, which has allowed him to see firsthand how much Meagan has grown over the past three and a half years.

 “She is a completely different person,” Meyring said. “I mean, she is charismatic, bubbly, technically super sound, confident … it is just very apparent that her mental [strength] has just climbed so high.”

Meyring attributes Smallbeck’s improvement and success to her hard work and determination, which has led to both her personal growth and her success at meets.

“She’s always just kept going and I couldn’t be more proud of her for that,” Meyring said.

Smallbeck and Meyring both talked about high goals for the rest of the season.

“Thrower of the year or getting to nationals and becoming an all-American, those are the awards that she’s striving for now,” said Meyring.

In addition to breaking the top 20 in the nation which would qualify her for nationals, Smallbeck is also eyeing school records.

“I’m less than a meter off our indoor record right now and about 5 feet off our outdoor record,” said Smallbeck.

Meyring expressed confidence in Smallbeck’s ability to achieve these goals and find success in her senior season. 

 “Watch out for her this year, she’s going to be making a lot more headlines,” Meeting said.