Senior Staff Writer
On March 9, Sheena Crawley ’13 proved once again why she is the talk of the school, racing to a second-place finish in the mile at the NCAA National Indoor Track & Field Championships at the Randal Tyson Track Center on the University of Arkansas campus in
A five-time All-American, Centennial Conference standout, and school record holder in multiple events, Crawley reached yet another milestone at the championships, shattering her own personal best and the F&M school record with a time of 4:49.45, a mere 1.3 seconds shy of the winning time.
Seeded second going into the race, Crawley was determined to better her qualifying time, medal, and break the four minute and 50 second mark; all three of the senior’s goals were achieved in the race.
“It felt great returning to Nationals again,” Crawley said. “This was my senior year, and the chances of finishing high on the podium were the best this time around. My initial expectations were high. I knew I could run faster than my qualification time, so I was excited to see if I would hold that standard or even better it.”
Last year, Crawley took fifth in the same race and, upon entering the 2012-2013 indoor season, set her goal of returning to Nationals and taking home a medal.
With the aid of a brand new facility courtesy of North Central College (IL), Crawley mapped out her victory in 200-meter increments. Prior to entering the 1600-meter race, Crawley wrote her split times on her arm, reminding herself exactly how she would run the race.
“I knew I had to run at the front of the pack and hit my splits accurately,” Crawley said. “To ensure that I knew my pace, I wrote the times I was supposed to hit at every 200-meters on my right arm and memorized them just in case. I had to stay on pace in order to run a personal best and contend for first or second place.”
While most other athletes prepare to unwind and hang up their uniforms following the National Championships, Crawley got right back on the plane to join the rest of the track & field teams in Myrtle Beach, SC, where she commenced her training in preparation for the outdoor season.
With hardly a day to recover from the pinnacle of most athletes’ careers, Crawley hit the track running, and she is already setting new goals for the outdoor season.
“For the outdoor season, my goal is to set a personal record in the 1500-meter and 800-meter,” Crawley said. “At Nationals, I might even consider doubling in these two events for my last collegiate National Championships. It would be tough, but I believe that I would have a good chance of receiving All-American [status] in both. My most important goal is to finish number two or better in the 1500-meter.”
If ever there were an athlete better suited to reach such goals, he or she would be hard pressed to find, and Crawley has proved her ability to run and win multiple races in a single meet on countless occasions.
This past weekend, Crawley led F&M to a first-place finish at The Little Three Championship hosted by Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA, running the same races she expects to run at Nationals, with an even shorter recovery period. Nevertheless, Crawley captured first in both.
Crawley has attributed much of her success this season to being in control of her races, and audaciously racing with the lead-runners, who are constantly pushing a faster pace.
“Taking the courageous step to run at the front of the pack at big races has enabled me to PR [personal record] this season,” Crawley said. “At the front of the pack, I have complete control of my race. I am both physically and mentally free of constraints and stresses imposed by my competitors. I can run at my own pace with my own stride, and I do not have to worry about getting boxed in or getting tripped up by other runners.”
With little time before the Centennial Conference Championships and NCAA Outdoor Championships, Crawley will chip away her goals, beginning when she and the team travel to Susquehanna University on March 30.
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