Run your best. That is all the coaching staff of the Calumet College of St. Joseph track and field program asked of Olivia Askew (SR/Munster, Ind.) as she prepared to run her final collegiate race on the biggest stage of them all. Askew clearly listened to her coaches. The outgoing senior not only set a personal best, but broke yet another school record, when she competed in the 200-meter dash at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. on Thursday evening.
Weather conditions were less than ideal leading up to the race, and a lightning delay pushed the scheduled start back about 45 minutes. Askew was placed into the third of a four heat field, giving her the slight advantage. Because of this, she would know what type of race she would need to run in order to turn in a time good enough to advance to Saturday's finals. Unfortunately, a spot in the finals was not in the cards, but that didn't stop Askew from turning in a stellar performance. Her time of 24.81 was good for 5th place in her heat, and 15th overall in a field of 32 runners. The sub-25 second time was fast enough for Askew to claim yet another Crimson Wave school record, adding to the laundry list of records that she will carry with her as she departs the Whiting, Ind. campus one last time.
"I felt that I did alright, but I think that I did better at the beginning than usual. I'm usually catching up, but I got good placement from the beginning," said Askew after the race. When asked about her feeling before her last collegiate race, Askew said that she didn't think about it much. "I was nervous about the race, but I really wasn't thinking past the race at all. It probably hasn't even hit me yet honestly."
"Olivia has worked extremely hard over the past few weeks preparing for this moment, and today was a huge reward for all of her years of hard work," said Athletic Director and Track and Field Director of Operations Rick Torres. When asked about her career at Cal College, Torres made sure to talk about her dedication to the Wave. "I had the good fortune of coaching her three of the four years while she attended CCSJ. She's had her share of challenges, but she really put the team on her back this year, especially at the conference meet. This was for her, all of this was for her. Her sacrifices, her commitment, her loyalty to the program allows this to serve as a fitting end to her career."
As she moves onto the next stage of her life, ending a season that saw her go to back to back national championship meets, Askew will look fondly upon her time as a member of Crimson Wave athletics. "This past year will definitely be what I remember most. I think I really did well for myself, the coaches, and the team. When I think back about my time here at CCSJ, track will always be the first thing that comes to mind."
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