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Tiffany Hellstrom certainly knows the meaning of the words “perseverance” and “determination.” She demonstrated that last week during the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore.
After countless injuries and setbacks, Hellstrom reached her dream of competing for an NCAA title .
“This was my ultimate goal, but I didn’t know if I was going to make it because of my injuries,” said Hellstrom.
The NCAA championships were held on historic Hayward Field, a place where track and field stars like 1972 Olympian Steve Prefontaine and 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Galen Rupp have brought the crowd to their feet.
It has not only been Oregon boys who have caught the attention of the track-crazy town, Weber State’s Lindsey Anderson and Amber Schultz also showcased some of their finest moments on that holy ground.
As the lone Wildcat in the finals, Hellstrom looked to add her name to the growing list of All-Americans in Weber State University lore with a solid performance in the women’s javelin throw.
The journey to this point hasn’t been easy but has been well worth it for Hellstrom and for the coaches that spent countless hours with her.
“She is a coach’s dream,” Director of Track and Field Dan Walker said. “An athlete that is so relentless, it is what we all hope for. It’s been three years since we had a thrower qualify for the championships, so this is a big deal.”
Hellstrom entered the meet ranked 23 out of the final 24 athletes that had qualified two weeks prior, but just as she has been in her whole career, Hellstrom didn’t let anything or anyone get in her way of doing what she does best: compete.
She started with a bang, unleashing her best throw of the season, 158 feet 10 inches, which was just a few feet short of her personal best. That mark set her up well for the rest of the competition, as just two other throwers had a better mark after their first throw.
Her second throw did not carry the same momentum as the first, as she recorded a distance of 145 feet 3 inches. After a fault on her third and final throw, she would have to wait to see what the remaining athletes did to determine her final placing.
When it was all said and done, Hellstrom came away with second team All-American honors as she placed 14th overall. After four years of wondering if she would ever achieve her dream, she ended her collegiate career with an honor that many athletes could only dream of.