Shipley aiming to qualify for outdoor nationals

Westfall junior Caitlyn Shipley is slated to make her first appearance in the state track and field championships on Saturday when she runs the 800 at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

Shipley finished as a regional runner-up last Saturday in a Division II regional held at Muskingum University, running a new program record time of 2:19.74.

She is the first Westfall female athlete to qualify to run a distance event in the state track and field championships since 1993 and the first female to qualify to run in the 800 in program history.

Shipley is no stranger to competition at the highest level as a three-time state qualifier in cross country.

Question: Take us through your strategy in running the 800 at the regional meet last Saturday at Muskingum?

Answer: My strategy for this race was to pace off the front pack for the first lap, then slowly pick runners off, hoping I pass enough people to qualify. I executed my goal the best I could. This was the first race I had a strategy before stepping on the line; typically, I just run without thought. 

Caitlyn Shipley will become the first Westfall female athlete to run in a distance event at the state track and field championships since 1993 when she takes the track at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Photo by Hailey Fox/Pickaway-Ross CTC

Question: How do you feel like you have been trending with running the 800 leading into the state track and field championships?

Answer: I’ve been pretty consistent with my times, running around 2:26. To qualify for states, I knew I would have to cut at least two seconds off my time, so last Saturday was a huge surprise when I heard I dropped five seconds off my personal record from last year.

Question: Take us through what your training regimen looks like?

Answer: In the past years, I always ran with the distance kids and ran their practice. But it looked slightly different this year because I was also running sprints. So, I was running distance runs and sprints almost every practice. I only have to run on my own on Sunday, but if I had a meet on Saturday, I’d use that as a recovery day.

Question: What do you like the best about running middle distance?

Answer: I love that the race is just long enough that if you don’t have the start you want, you still have enough time to make it up, unlike sprinting events. I also love the adrenaline that comes with running such a fast-paced race.

Question: What are your expectations for the state championships and getting to run at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium?

Answer: My goal is to run the hardest I can for all the people coming to the state meet and who have supported me over the years. Currently, I am ranked 14th in my race, so it would be awesome if I could podium. But my main goal is to cut a second or more off my time to qualify for outdoor track nationals.

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