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WWU’s Reichert’s eyes set on 2015 NCAA national championship

After finishing the 2014 outdoor track season placing second in the NCAA Division II Nationals, Western Washington University junior women’s javelin thrower Katie Reichert is looking to improve from last year and compete for the championship in the 2015 NCAA Division II Nationals.

“It’s early, anything can happen,” Reichert said in a phone interview. “I would love to contend for the national championship this year.”

The WWU track and field team opened its outdoor season at the University of Puget Sound five-way meet on Saturday, March 7, at Baker Stadium. In the meet, Reichert threw a women’s javelin automatic qualifying mark of 159-2 in the prelims, solidifying a strong start to her season.

“I feel pretty happy with the way I started,” she said. “I’m never fully satisfied and am striving for more. I’m happy to hit the auto mark at the first meet so I can settle in and work on things to improve on instead of qualifying.”

One thing will be different for Reichert this season as she looks to improve before heading onto nationals. She won’t have teammate Bethany Drake, the 2014 national champion, competing alongside her.

But Reichert knows she can get by without Drake pushing her this season.

“It’s definitely been difficult to not have Beth around. We’re best friends, love to train together and we provide great competition together in a workout or at a meet because we’re always so close in our marks,” Reichert said. “But we make it through.”

Reichert’s next opportunity to throw will be on Wednesday, March 25, in the 2015 Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus in Austin, Texas.

This year is the 88th annual meet, which draws athletes from Texas, the country and the world to all compete in a four-day meet.

“It’s a big meet,” Reichert said. “I’ve never been down there before. I just happened to come across it between me and my coaches.”

Never having competed in a meet like the Texas Relays, Reichert is looking forward to competing with the best athletes early on this season.

“I’m really excited to go down and compete. It’s going to be a great opportunity,” she said. “There’s a lot of competition in the section I’m in. I’m kind of in the middle. It will be fun to compete with people who are throwing amazing and quite a lot farther.”

Going down to Austin having an automatic qualifying mark intact couldn’t hurt the experience either.

“It makes me nervous because I don’t have the kinks quite worked out yet,” she said, “like how to deal with myself in challenging situations and keeping my composure. To throw in a meet like that will prep me for nationals and post-collegiate nationals this year.”

With the experience of the Texas Relays under her belt and placing second in nationals last season, Reichert’s goal is to win the championship this year.

And now that her teammate is unable to compete, her expectations are set high.

“I’m excited to compete against the girls I’ve competed against in the past two years and see how we all do,” she said. “My goal is to win nationals this year and I’m going to go out and work for it.”

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