On Friday, May 25, Lauren Huebner, an upcoming occupational therapy senior, finished first in the heptathlon at the 2019 NCAA Division II National Championship in Kingsville, Texas.
The event occurred over the course of two days, each day containing different sets of the heptathlon events, including: 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin throw and 800-meter.
Huebner enjoyed three of the events more than the others.
“My most favorite is probably the hurdles because I feel that this is my best event,” she said. “However, I really enjoy throwing the shot put and javelin because those are events I never thought I would get to do.”
The competition was only Huebner’s second time participating in a heptathlon.
“I am relatively new to the mulit-events, with this being only my second ever heptathlon,” she said. “I really enjoy this event because it gives me an opportunity to participate in an event from every area of track and field – running, hurdling, throws and jumps.”
While you can never predict the outcome of a competition, Huebner had a good feeling about the event.
“Coming into the national championship meet I was ranked third overall, so I knew that I was right there in the position to win,” Huebner said. “I knew that it was going to take an almost perfect day, but I believed in myself, and my coaches believed that I could get the job done on the national stage.”
To get to this point in her athletic career, Huebner had to put in a lot of time and effort. She took this event as an opportunity to put all her training into action.
Her coaches also have helped her get to this point in her athletic career.
“I have been training so hard all year and have put the time in, so when it came to the national championship meet, I just trusted my training and went out and gave it everything I had,” Huebner said. “I have such a great strength and conditioning staff, athletic training staff, coaching staff and teammates behind me that have helped me get to where I am today.”
The moment Huebner won and became a national champion was a life changing moment.
“Becoming a national champion is a very surreal experience,” she said. “Athletes work their whole career to achieve this and, after years of hard work and dedication, I was able to do it. When I crossed the finish line of the last race and knew I had won, I couldn’t help but throw my hands in the air in excitement. My family had traveled to Texas to watch me compete, so I was able to run into my mom’s arms and give her a big hug after I won. There really aren’t words to describe it. It’s a feeling of a lifetime.”
John Decker, the director of Athletics, said that being able to perform well in a heptathlon takes an immense amount of skill.
“Heptathlon includes events that require a broad range of athletic speed, strength and endurance,” he said. “Student-athletes who excel in the heptathlon are among the most versatile athletes at SVSU and could probably be successful in several different sports if they had the time to do it.”
Decker believes that Huebner’s win will be an inspiration to other SVSU athletes.
“While we have had other individual national champions in the past, Lauren is the first we have had in over 15 years, and her accomplishment is an incentive to all of our student-athletes.”