Western Washington University women’s javelin thrower Bethany Drake, the defending national champion, will not compete this season because of a serious back injury. Making that announcement was Viking coach Pee Wee Halsell.
Drake, a junior from Sandy, Ore., has a stress reaction in her lower vertebrae that will require three months of complete rest to heal.
“She’s going to be sorely missed,” Halsell in a news release. “Not only are we losing an incredible athlete, but also the leadership qualities she possesses because she’s such a great person. But she’s a determined young lady and I’m sure that she will be back competing.”
Last year, Drake won the NCAA Division II javelin title with a throw of 165-3. That was one inch further than teammate Katie Reichert, who placed second. Reichert will be a senior this spring.
Drake also had a school record throw of 169-6 last season, earning United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-America, USTFCCCA West Region Field Athlete of the Year, and USTFCCCA DII National Athlete of the Week honors.