Written by Student Assistant Garrett Hittner
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University men's and women's track & field teams will compete as a split-squad this weekend, sending select individuals to the University of Oregon for the Oregon Twilight Meet with a few more student-athletes competing at the Ken Shannon Invitational hosted by the University of Washington.
The Oregon Twilight Track Meet is a huge meet taking place at historic Hayward Field in Eugene. The Lutes competing at the meet will be up against some of the top collegiate runners from around the region along with professional athletes and Olympic qualifiers.
Senior Machaela Graddy will be making her second trip to Hayward Field to throw javelin. After making a trip to the NCAA Division III National meet last season, Graddy is a seasoned veteran in competing at large meets.
"Competing at Hayward Field is unlike any track and field competition I've competed at, including nationals," said Graddy "This is because the atmosphere with the crowd and competing under the lights truly makes it feel like a huge meet."
Graddy, who also is a member of the Northwest Conference Champion PLU women's soccer team, experienced a unique transition throughout her career on the PLU track & field team. Beginning as a multi-event athlete, she slowly metamorphosed into an outstanding asset for the women's team in the throws, culminating with an appearance at the NCAA Championships last season and an NWC title this season in the javelin.
"It's been a long interesting journey for me on the track and field team. From my first two years being a heptathlete competing in a total of 10 events, and then to just being a one event athlete my senior year."
Having a laser focus on one event has allowed the senior to flourish in the javelin. Qualifying for the DIII National meet is no small task. Only the top 22 women in each event out all Division III athletes qualify for the National meet.
"Having just one event has allowed me to maintain the hard work ethic I had to have as a heptathlete to being a hard working, successful javelin thrower."
The Lutes head out on Friday morning and action gets underway at 2:30 at Hayward Field. A few other athletes will be competing at the Ken Shannon Invitational hosted by the University of Washington on Friday and Saturday.