The Quest For Perfection

  • By Daniel Whitehead
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  • June 05, 2012 12:00 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Everyone has a schedule to fulfill. There are only so many hours during the day to accomplish the tasks before us and there is always something more to do despite our greatest efforts. There is often no rest for the weary.

Although busy, few of us will ever face the gruesome slate of competing in the 200-meter dash against the nation’s best collegiate sprinters and then turning around within 10 minutes of its completion to race in the 100-meter hurdles.

Such was the case for WVU senior Chelsea Carrier-Eades at the 2011 NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. With the event schedule altered because of poor weather conditions, the Buckhannon, W.Va., native was forced to rush into the hurdles event without the preparation her competitors had been provided and she ultimately did not qualify for the hurdles finals.

“Last year, I had just finished the 200-meter dash and literally walked back to rest for 10 minutes to get my legs back under me for the 100-meter hurdles,” she said. “While the other girls had been warming up, I didn’t have much time to recover for the open hurdles. Hopefully this year there won’t be the weather issues - we should have an hour between the 200-meter and hurdles.”

A six-time All-American, the redshirt senior hopes her final appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this weekend is her most memorable by earning All-America status in the two events she will compete in, the 100-meter hurdles and the heptathlon.

“I just need to take it one event at a time,” she said. “My goal is to get at least second in the heptathlon if I hit everything I know I can. I need to have that perfect meet. I hope it comes this week as it will be my last time competing for WVU.

“I’ve never had a perfect meet, but I want to hit every event and put it all together. I know what I need to do - I just hope to actually do it in my last meet. I’m excited, but it’s a little sad that it will be over when the meet is done.”

Having competed in the hurdles and heptathlon since high school, Carrier-Eades has long known that to improve and be at her best in each event, she needs to focus on speed and technique to master each craft. WVU assistant coaches Shelly Gallimore and Martin Pushkin are there to help with her technique mastery.

“Shelly focuses on my technique in the long jump, high jump and javelin, while Marty does the same for the hurdles,” Carrier-Eades said. “I have a good sense of what I’m doing since I’ve been doing it for a number of years, but I am still improving and getting my approaches ready. Hopefully both speed and technique come together for this meet.”

Ranked No. 4 in the country in the heptathlon, Carrier-Eades will have her work cut out for her as she’ll face the likes of Brianne Theisen (Oregon), Barbara Nwaba (UC Santa Barbara), Brittany Harrell (Florida) and Jessica Flax (Wisconsin).

Keia Pinnick (Arizona State), Kiani Profit (Maryland) and Ryann Krais (Kansas State) also pose significant challenges for the title.

“Brianne Theisen from Oregon is very, very good and a great competitor,” she said. “She’s solid in all her events and is ahead of all of us by a lot. Hopefully if I hit everything I won’t be too far behind her. The top eight are really close. It just depends on who has a good day and who doesn’t. I pray that I’ll have a good day and have solid marks in every event.

“I’ll just go out and do my best.”

After NCAAs finish up June 9, Carrier-Eades will prepare for the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., in the heptathlon to try to make the U.S. national team for the London Games.

“I don’t know if I’ll compete in the open 100 hurdles or not,” she said. “I’ve hit in the 12s a few times during my career, but they’ve been wind-aided. It depends on if I’m in the ‘A’ standard to qualify in the hurdles. I’ll sit down with my coaches to determine what’s best for me.”

No matter how nationals shape up for Carrier-Eades, the meet will cap an illustrious career of one of the finest track and field athletes to ever don the spikes for the Mountaineers.

“I’ve set a lot of goals and accomplished them, more than I really thought I was going to,” Carrier-Eades said. “I’ve always wanted to qualify for the Olympic Trials, so to do that met a really big goal of mine. WVU has helped me succeed and accomplish my goals and I’m grateful for my coaches. They’re professional and they’ve known how to help me become an athlete I never thought I could be.

“WVU has helped me become better at this sport, and if I had the chance to go back to high school and choose a college again, I would choose WVU every time.”

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Chelsea Carrier-Eades, WVU, West Virginia University Mountaineers, 2012 NCAA outdoor track and field championships