by Craig Russell | Staff Writer
Kayla Leland,‘18, represented the Whitworth Track and Field team at the Indoor Nationals this past Friday. She ran the 5k meter, and finished fifth with a time of 17:02.10. The meet was held in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I got out to a quick start as I always like to do, maintained a good position throughout the race, and then used my speed training to pass several runners at the end,” Leland said. Leland held first place for three minutes of the race, then settled into seventh before passing two other runners on their last lap. The winner of this race, Britney Bowman of Tufts University, had a time of 16:31.32.
Leland also had qualified for the mile as well, but chose to focus on the 5k.
“Running a fast 5K is one of the most physically and mentally challenging tasks for a runner, especially running 25 laps on an indoor track. However, I personally embrace the pain through perseverance, especially with the roaring crowd and all the excitement in the background,” Leland said. Last year she was recognized as an All-American athlete for being top eight in the mile and the 800 meter, and now has also been recognized as an All-American athlete in the 5k meter.
“Qualifying for the NCAA National Championships is never a given, so I felt extremely blessed and excited when I qualified to compete in Alabama at the National meet. Being the only qualifier from our team this year, I was honored to be able to represent Whitworth at the National level,” Leland said. Leland has continued a three-year treak of Whitworth athletes competing at the national level. She is thankful for the support of her teammates that were back in Spokane.
This meet concludes the indoor season, and the rest of the season will be outdoor meets.
This weekend the Bucs will host their first outdoor meet on March 17, beginning at 10 a.m.