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Giving it her all

Brittni Showers competes in grueling heptathlon

Giving it her all

One of the heptathlon events Cal State Stanislaus athlete Brittni Showers competes in is the hurdles.


POSTED May 6, 2011 9:53 p.m.

Cal State Stanislaus senior Brittni Showers looked at the numbers on the white piece of paper as if she was trying to decipher a code. The heptathlon athlete had just wrapped up the last of her seven events at this week’s California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships at Warrior Stadium on the Stanislaus campus.

The feelings and emotions of competing in one of the most grueling track and field events were still coursing through her body. She was still coughing up what she called “the 800 cough,” the product of giving it her all in the 800-meter run, the heptathlon’s final event on Friday, clocking in a time of 2 minutes, 30.51 seconds. Soon after looking at the results on a white piece of paper, she wondered how much faster she could have gone in the 800 in order to earn enough points to qualify for this year’s NCAA Division II Championships, also to be held at Warrior Stadium on May 26-28.

Her coach, Geoff Bradshaw, pulled out a book that states all the different times and marks in all the heptathlon events an athlete needs to achieve a certain amount of points. Showers discovered that if she had finished in 2:27 in the 800, she would’ve gotten exactly 35 points to provisionally qualify for the national meet instead of settling for a heptathlon total of 4,365, enough for fourth place — 917 points from winner Stephanie LeFever of UC San Diego.

Disappointed?

“I guess if I threw further in the javelin,” Showers said, “I could’ve gotten more points. It makes me disappointed. On the other hand, I can’t be that disappointed. I PR by over 200 points and I had good performances in my other events. I can’t be disappointed in myself. But I did want 4400 points.”

After learning about the heartbreaker, she bent over to grab her knees before hiding her face from view, taking in a few moments for herself after an exhausting day.

At the end of a heptathlon, most athletes won’t have the energy to do much else. For Showers, she wasn’t done on Friday. She will compete in today’s 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles in hopes of landing provisional times.

In the heptathlon, athletes need the mental strength to endure all seven events: 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin throw and the 800-meter run. Shower won the 200 in 25.57 seconds, a personal-best time in the heptathlon.

She also had personal-best marks in the hurdles (15.25 seconds) and long jump (5.21 meters).

Not bad for someone who picked up most of the heptathlon events just a year ago, after she transferred from Moorpark College. The only event she had experienced in was the 200, though she did compete in the long jump in high school.

At last year’s CCAA meet, she finished with 4,151 points.

This year, she topped that total by more than 200 points.

“After last year at conference, I’m a lot further ahead,” Showers pointed out. “I’ve come a long way, definitely, in two seasons. I think I should be proud because I just started learning these events — almost all of them.”

Coach Bradshaw said not just anyone can compete in the heptathlon.

“You have to have the capacity to focus,” he said, “especially given the long hours of training and stress having few attempts and the stress that everybody will have a better mark than you and you have to do whatever it takes to get close to them.

“The ideal body type for me is a person with a strong mind.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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