Junior pole vaulter Anna Paradee is the only Western athlete to qualify for the 2017 NCAA Division II Indoor Championship out of Western’s 90 track and field team members.
Paradee achieved a new personal record of 3.83 meters at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships held Feb. 18, locking in her spot to the national tournament.
Paradee said she had been consistent at all the meets leading up to the event and knew immediately her jump would likely be enough to qualify for nationals.
“I don’t feel any pressure, just nerves. This is the biggest meet I’ve ever competed at. I’m excited. This is a really great opportunity to show what Western athletics is about.”
Head coach Pee Wee Halsell said Paradee has put a tremendous amount of effort during practice to put herself into this position.
“[Paradee] was determined to get to the national meet,” Halsell said. “She works hard. She gets in there and gets it done. She sets goals and has a plan to get to those.”
Paradee said coaches Karis Anderson and Ben Stensland helped her reach this point.
Coach Anderson is a Western pole vaulting alumnus. Paradee said Anderson’s experience on the team before, makes her a great coach now. She said coach Stensland has assisted her greatly because of his approachability and care for the athletes.
“[Stensland] is very personal, and that one on one effort he puts into all of his athletes really cultivates a great team environment,” Paradee said.
Paradee said her teammates have been just as influential as her coaches on her success, in particular sophomore pole vaulter, Rachael Roberts.
Paradee said Roberts is lively and has a good presence, which in turn keeps Paradee calm during the meets.
“I bring energy to the team,” Roberts said. “At meets we have fun and we goof around and we dance.”
Paradee said the vibe between her and her teammates is better than it has been in the past, which has created a great atmosphere.
“The whole team in general this year has been really fantastic,” Paradee said. “We’re really supportive of each other. It’s not competitive against each other.”
Although Paradee is traveling to the tournament with only the coaching staff, Roberts said Paradee will be going to the to the tournament knowing she has the support of her entire team.
“I think she’ll do amazing, I honestly do. She’s been really consistent this year and that gives a good mental state going into a meet like this,” Roberts said. “I think she’s going to knock it out of the park. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my best friend.”
With this support group going into the national tournament, Paradee said she feels no pressure, and is going in with one simple goal: to be consistent.
“I don’t feel any pressure, just nerves. This is the biggest meet I’ve ever competed at,” Paradee said. “I’m excited. This is a really great opportunity to show what Western athletics is about.”
Paradee will be competing alongside 540 athletes, 270 women and 270 men, at the tournament in Birmingham, Alabama from March 9 to 11.