Women’s track team prepares for PSACs

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 at 7:45 PM
Women’s track team prepares for PSACs by Erica Burkholder
Photo: Erica Burkholder

In just a few months, the Edinboro women’s track team — led by a slate of younger athletes and guided by a few veterans — has seen several records broken and set themselves up for national competition. 

Gabby Schultz’s shot put is ranked 15th in Division II following her performance at the Edinboro Open on Friday. 

Schultz went to the national outdoor championships last year and is building off of that success (19th in shot put, 23rd in discus) in 2018. 

“This is my best season yet,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of indoor [personal records], and usually I don’t PR until PSAC week. I’m excited about it. It’s nice to see hard work pay off.”

Schultz earned an NCAA provisional mark for shot put this year at the Youngstown State University Collegiate Invitational at the beginning of the season. She improved her mark at the YSU Mid-Major Invite and once again improved it at the Edinboro Open on Friday. She holds the school record in the event, which she set last year. She also broke the school record and her personal best while posting another NCAA provisional mark for the weight throw at the Edinboro Open. 

She said she stays motivated by thinking about her goals and every time she does a workout she doesn’t want to, it helps her get a leg up on her competition. Her goals this season are to place within the top 10 in nationals and to be a better teammate.

She said her friends, family and boyfriend are her biggest supporters. 

“They’re awesome,” she said. Her family is “extremely supportive,” and they make sure to text or call her when they can’t make it to a meet. 

She expected her season to go how it has, as she holds high expectations of herself and puts in a lot of time in the offseason. Still, she said she expects tough competition at the PSAC championships this Saturday in Edinboro.

“I’m excited. I think it’ll be fun,” Schultz said. “There’s a lot of talent in the throws. Placing high in shot and weight will not be easy, but hopefully there will be a lot of PRs. I’m excited for Edinboro’s distance squad, too. We’ve got a lot of girls that are ready to rock the meet.”

One of the stars of that distance squad is Stefanie Parsons. She started track in high school and left knowing she was running fast, but that she still had room for improvement. 

Parsons was named the PSAC Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week on Feb. 6 after earning an NCAA provisional mark in the 3,000 meter run at the YSU Mid-Major Invitational. She earned a second provisional time while breaking the school record in the mile at the Grand Valley State University Big Meet. At the same meet, she along with Abbey Lang, Jordan Hauser and Jasmine Fehr achieved a provisional time in the distance medley relay (DMR).

Her parents and two sisters live in Acton, Ontario, Canada, but her parents still try to make the four-hour drive to see her when they can. “It’s nice that they can still come and support me,” said Parsons.  

She said the season feels really good to her, but that others deserve credit for her success as well.

“It’s a lot of fun to break records,” she said. “It’s a team effort [though], all being able to work together and then do that.”

The coaches and team are her biggest supporters, and she stays motivated by chasing her goals. 

“Just working towards our goals, trying to qualify and stuff makes it easy to stay motivated. Having a good team [helps as] we’re always pushing each other and always wanting to be better,” she said.

Parsons likes running, feels prepared for PSACs and hopes to put forward a good relay and mile. 

“I’m really excited for PSACs. I hope that everyone can get the qualifying times, and I’m hoping to have a good relay on the first day and come back and do well in the mile,” she said. 

Another standout distance runner for the Fighting Scots is Fehr, who likes to lead a well-organized, balanced life. She said she achieves this by setting goals for the season and reviewing her previous season’s goals. She said that motivation needs to come from within.

“With track, you’re either a track runner or not; you have to be really passionate about running, because, obviously, it’s not an easy sport,” Fehr said. “You’re pushing yourself and your body to its limits everyday and you have to have that motivation from within.”

Fehr was also named a PSAC Athlete of the Week. She posted a provisional mark at the YSU Collegiate Invitational in the 800-meter run. She achieved another provisional mark in the mile at the Al Hall Freedom games, and is also a part of the DMR team that earned a provisional mark at the GVSU Big Meet. 

Fehr sets goals before the season and makes a list of what she can do to achieve those goals. She has already achieved her mile goal, which she reached on her first race and jokes that she didn’t set that one high enough. She’s now working on achieving her 800-meter goal. 

She credits her team and coaches as her biggest supporters. Her family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada aren’t that into sports or running, but they have increased their support with her moving to another country. 

She also has her own lifestyle and fitness blog, and she likes to read and organize. 

“I love going into my planner and organizing my life,” she added. “I think it’s good to have balance. I have my running and fitness side, but I also love the arts and stuff.”

She’s excited for PSACs, but said she has to make sure she trains smart. 

“I’m excited,” she said. “My shin has been bothering me the past couple weeks, so I’ve been doing some of my runs in the pool and making sure some days I am taking it easier. I’m the kind of person where everyday I want to go as hard as I can, but being a runner you have to train smart because if you go 100 percent every day, that’s how you get injured.”

She’s excited to see how the team is able to perform at the PSAC championships.

“I think our team is going to do some pretty cool stuff,” Fehr said.

Track and Field Head Coach Anne Cleary credits the girls’ personalities for their success this season.

“You talk about Gabby, Stef, Jasmine, Abbey and Jordan on the DMR. You can’t teach people desire, you can’t teach people to want to, that’s not a coachable characteristic, that’s not a teachable characteristic,” Cleary explained. “They want to be the best they can be, they worked hard to be the best they can be. They’re the people that worked hard over the summer before coming in.”

She said having all of the girls for at least another year — Fehr and Parsons are freshmen and Schultz is a junior — makes their successes even more fun to watch.

“It’s really exciting. The sky’s the limit. Who knows what some of those girls will accomplish,” said Cleary.

The PSAC championships kick off on Friday at 3 p.m. with the weight throw and long jump. The events continue throughout the weekend. 

Erica Burkholder can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: track, psac

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