Jun 12, 2014 12:36 AM by Richie Melby (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are in full swing, with eight Track Cats competing in Eugene, Oregon this weekend. Sprinter Shapri Romero has had a unique journey to this stage, but it's one she wouldn't trade for anything.
"I'm a diva at heart so I wasn't about track and field," said Wildcat senior Shapri Romero. "It's too hot, I didn't want to be out in the sun so I didn't do club teams because it was an option and I said no."
Shapri Romero has always been fast. She was much quicker than the other kids growing up. But working up a sweat for fun didn't sound like fun. Still, she competed in track and field off and on through high school, but in her mind this running for fun experiment would end there.
"I wasn't going to run in college. My best friend and her mom convinced me to walk on because the worst thing they could say was no," she said.
Luckily for Wildcat fans, they said yes. But Romero is an admitted diva remember? College athletics are much more difficult than the high school level. So was there ever a time she questioned her decision?
"If anything it would have been the first practice," she recalled. "I remember my first collegiate meet. It was indoor and I had never run indoor before. I was so nervous, I never ate before my races because I was so nervous I didn't want to throw up. But I won my first collegiate race ever. It was exciting, but I was so nervous though."
Those days are a thing of the past. Sure, Romero still gets nervous from time to time, waiting in the starting blocks for the gun to go off. But now it's about championships. One final weekend to reach the NCAA's biggest stage.
"Honestly, it's heart, whoever wants it more," said Romero. "I saw a quote awhile ago that said, 'the man who can push himself further once the effort gets harder will win.' When it gets hard, whoever can pull through is your man."
Shapri failed to qualify for the finals in the 400m dash, finishing 11th overall. She will compete in the 200m prelims on Thursday.