Kendall and Yajaira

Herod and Salinas prepare to compete in the Track and Field National Championships, specifically in their 800-meter race. (Photo Courtesy of Yajaira Salinas)

The month of March is a time in which we honor the accomplishments of women and the advancements that they have made within our society.

For Stan State, we not only get to celebrate women of the past, but also women of the present.

Since 2016, Stan State has not had much of a presence in NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships; however, two women showed the dedication to change that this season.

Today, Kendall Herod (sophomore, Biology) and Yajaira Salinas (freshman, Biology) will be competing in the Indoor Track and Field Championships.

To Herod and Salinas, making it this far is an accomplishment and a testament to their hard work and dedication.

“It’s a big deal. It’s really hard to wrap my mind around,” Salinas said. “A lot of people doubted us. It’s a big deal because we believed.”

It’s not only an accomplishment for themselves, but it also clears a path for others who choose to compete for Stan State.

“It’s really breaking the ice for athletes coming in,” Herod said. “We’re paving the way for new people to dream big.”

These two women were not sure if they were going to make it this far until last weekend at a “last chance” meet. There, they both clocked their personal records (PR) in the 800-meter race with times of 2:09.68 (Herod) and 2:10.81 (Salinas). Their PRs also made them two of the fastest sophomores and freshmen in Division II Track and Field for the 800-meter.

“We had to put in a lot of mileage and a lot of trust in our coach, in ourselves and our program,” Herod said. “We kept saying ‘we can do this.’ Preparing who we are at practice is preparing who we are to compete. We had to dominate in practice, to dominate in competition.”

Both runners feel that being there is a testament alone and now all they can do is run the best that they can possibly can.  

Salinas stated that “I am going to run like it’s my last race ever.”

“I am going to run the best I can,” Herod added. “I have been working on understanding that nothing can beat my best. I want to be able to say that I gave it my all.”

Herod and Salinas will be competing in the 800-meter today at 5 p.m. local time in the prelims race. If they make it through, the final race will be held on tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

Being a sophomore and a freshman, both Herod and Salinas have some ways to go and this is just the start of their journey to nationals.

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