Sprinter battles sickness, runs over CWU records

Samuel Beaumonte, Staff Reporter

Junior Madison Garcia never thought she would be breaking school records when she applied to Central Washington University, and after a rocky start her freshman year due to health issues, her track future wasn’t very clear.

Halfway through the her freshman year, Garcia caught mono.Soon after, she was diagnosed with meningitis, forcing her to take a break from practice and competition.

“I was out of school for a whole month, and when I started running again in the spring, it was the slowest that I’ve ever been,” Garcia said. “It was really difficult, but I was determined to come back from it.”

Garcia’s recovery and performance has managed to astound both her teammates and coaches.

“She was getting back into it and getting ready to go,” said sprinters coach Bryan Mack. “It took her a whole year to get back, but now she’s really getting over that hump.”

In addition to her own physical goals and times she wanted to set, the school managed to help push her to recovery with monetary incentive.

“I had a scholarship on the line, and they warned me that if I didn’t pick it up, they’d lower it,” Garcia said.

Garcia said she spent her sophomore year recovering and getting back to where she was in high school, and then, by the end of the year, she had got back to her PR (personal record) marks.

This year, Garcia has participated in the 100, 200 and 60-meter indoor dash events, the 4×100 relay and the 4×400 relay, and has broken individual school records in the 60-meter indoor and 200-meter indoor and is a part of the 4×100 relay team that set a school record this year.

“I remember coming here and looking at the scoreboard records and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s pretty fast,’” Garcia said. “It’s really surprising to me that I was able to beat [them].”

As a junior, much like any upperclassmen in sports, she sets an example for the underclassmen, whether she means to or not.

“I believe she’s inadvertently setting an example for the underclassmen,” Mack said. “She’s the most competitive athlete that I’ve ever worked with and seen, that includes trained with and coached.”

That example isn’t lost on her teammates.

“It’s nice joining a team with upperclassmen, and Maddie is a hard worker that I can look up to,” said freshman sprinter Mariyah Vongsaveng, who is also on the 4×100 team. “Training with the others has been helpful, we’ve been struggling together and it pays off on competition day.”

Garcia herself has learned a lot since coming to CWU. Aside from traditional recovery, Garcia feels that she’s learned a lot ever since Mack started coaching the sprinters.

“Bryan helped me fix my mechanics, telling me all the little things I could improve,” said Garcia.

Mack has been coaching the sprinters for the last two years and has been able to see Garcia’s recovery from the start to finish.

“These last couple weeks she’s been the healthiest I’ve seen her, and her confidence is at an all time high,” Mack said. “I believe she’s at the point that [she] can come out and run faster than she’s ever ran before.”

Last weekend at the GNAC tournament, the 4×100 meter relay team got first place, with Garcia as the anchor. She also earned All-GNAC honors by finishing third in the 100-meter and second in the 200-meter.