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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Vikings look toward Rio

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Bethany Drake throws a javelin at the Ralph Vernacchia track meet. // Photo by Alex Powell

As the Summer Olympic Games in Rio ebb ever closer, Western’s track and field team are readying to potentially compete in the biggest meet of their lives.

Javelin throwers Bethany Drake, junior,  and senior Katie Reichert competed in the Harry Jerome Classic on June 17, in Vancouver, Canada.

The Harry Jerome Classic is held annually and is part of the road to the Olympics. Both javelin throwers did well in this meet, with Reichert achieving a final score of 54.97 meters and Drake throwing 50.13 meters.

“This is huge for our women’s team,” Assistant Coach David Burnett said in an email. “No team in the nation had more javelin throwers then WWU. For those two to finish 2-3 at the NCAA Championships is a testament to their hard work and dedication.”

Reichert knew the importance of the meet, but did not let it worry her.

“The Harry Jerome Classic was a fun meet for me,” Reichert said. “Going into the meet, I was relaxed and was very happy with the outcome that I received, but didn’t necessarily expect [it] going into the meet.”

As far as future plans go, this week Drake and Reichert will compete in the Olympic trials on July 7, at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

“We have Drake for one more year so it means her experience will continue to bring leadership to a young women’s team. It will hopefully open up the doors for recruiting other successful student athletes to our team.”

David Burnett

“Honestly, it has been a challenging season, but a rewarding one nevertheless,” Drake said. “It’s had some incredible highs but also some challenging lows. The awesome thing is that every one of those moments is pushing to make me better.”

Even with the loss of Reichert next year, the team still has a bright future ahead of them. While Reichert was a close friend and inspiration to the team, the Vikings will still be privileged with the veteran qualities of Drake. 

“We have Drake for one more year so it means her experience will continue to bring leadership to a young women’s team,” Burnett said in an email. “It will hopefully open up the doors for recruiting other successful student athletes to our team.”

Next year, Drake will continue her career for one last season with a new team to lead.

While the departure of Reichert and eventually Drake will leave the team without two excellent leaders, the future looks very bright for the younger competitors Drake said.

“We’ve got so many talented ladies on the team and so much drive,” Drake said.  “We all want it and that has the power to take us places.”

As Drake and Reichert finish out the last leg of their season, they are both excited to see what the future has in store for them.

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