The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Summers shines at Junior Nationals finishing second

A CSUN track and field freshman showed her throwing prowess at the USA Track and Field Junior Nationals in Indianapolis June 21-23 finishing second in two events.

Jere Summers finished second in her age group in the discus with a throw of 159′ 10″ as well as the shot put with a throw of 50′ 3.5,” and fifth in the hammer throw with a lifetime-best 167′ 10.”

Her performance impressed CSUN track and field throws-coach Dale Cowper who traveled with her to Indianapolis.

“She did a phenomenal job,” he said. “She represented CSUN very well.”

Cowper said the best advice he gave her before the event was to be herself, adding that she is an extremely competitive person by nature.

Summers’ finish in the hammer throw surprised Cowper since it was her first year competing in the event.

“She’ll be a really good hammer-thrower in the future,” he said.

Cowper said he is confident that as the 19 year old matures, she will begin to take the sport more seriously, adding he would like to see her in the weight room more often.

Three other Matadors competed in the nationals along with Summers. Dominique Calvin and Kayli Sanders finished ninth and 16th respectively in the women’s long jump and Awet Hagos, the only CSUN men’s athlete at the event, placed 11th in the triple jump.

Despite taking home two silver medals, Summers expressed disappointment with her performance.

“I wish I won the shot,” she said.

If she threw anywhere close to her season-best mark of 51′ 5.75″ she would have won. Kamorean Hayes won the event with a throw of 50′ 8.25″.

Summers’ performance at the nationals earned her a spot on the USA Track and Field under-19 team.

The team will travel to Beijing, China in August to compete in the World Junior Track and Field Championship where Summers will take part in the shot put and the discus.

She is the first CSUN athlete to make the team since Rashad Allen in 2001 in the 100 meters.

“She’s worked so hard all season,” Cowper said. “She’s earned this experience.”

Cowper and Summers almost decided to skip the championships because of the toll the grueling track and field season has taken on her body. She trained non-stop since September- enduring pain from bad ankles and fallen arches.

“This is my first year lifting weights,” Summers said. “It has been really hard on my body.”

Throughout the pain of the long season, Summers has maintained her positive attitude and sense of humor. She joked that she would throw the shot put 60 feet, which is a world-class distance, in Beijing and chided Cowper for keeping her in the weight room too long.

“I lift weights too much,” she said, before bursting into laughter.

Her light-heartedness should not be confused for indifference. Summers is a fierce competitor. Before coming to CSUN, she was a four-year letter woman in track and field and wrestling at Berkeley High and won the Contra Costa Times Prep Athletes of the Year Award.

She remains humble, however, about all her achievements. She focuses more on what she needs to improve.

“I was shooting for 52 (feet in the shot put),” Summers said. “Hopefully I get it at worlds.”

Eating better and getting more sleep is also a big concern for Summers and her coaches. She rearranged her class schedule next semester to give her more time to rest and better suit her demanding workout regiment.

Summers hits the weight room at 7 a.m Monday through Friday. After classes in the morning and afternoon, she practices her throws with Cowper and her teammates until about 6 p.m.

“She’s very intense,” Cowper said. “She does everything I ask of her.”

Cowper believes she has a chance to make the finals in both events in Beijing. An NCAA championship may be a couple of years away, Cowper said.

“It’s tough for a true sophomore to win, but she has the potential to compete for a championship within the next two or three years,” Cowper said.

Summers is calm and confident about traveling halfway around the world to compete in the sport she loves.

“I’m not nervous,” Summers said I’m excited.”

She will travel to Eugene, Ore. August 4th to begin training with the junior national team before flying to Beijing Aug. 9th for the competition. She is fired up for the event, but she is also looking forward to getting some much-needed rest.

“When I get back from China I’ll have 2-3 weeks off,” Summers said. “Hopefully, I’ll be recuperated and ready for next season.”

Cowper knows she will be ready by next year. Her will to win, he said, is what separates her from the rest of the field.

“When all is said and done, she will be the best overall thrower ever to come through CSUN,” Cowper said.

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