At 19, Nina Schultz has already been the talk of the town, the campus and a couple of nations. Add the Commonwealth to the list.
The New West native put down a consistent performance wearing Team Canada colours last week, capturing the silver medal in the women’s heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Along the way, the Kansas State University student-athlete registered a number of personal bests, including the final point tally of 6,133, which stood second to England’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s gold-winning 6,255 total.
Her point total was an improvement of over 100 points from her previous best mark, set a year ago as a member of Kansas State track team.
And while she came away with four new personal bests, Schultz underplayed her results while absorbing the whole international competition atmosphere.
“It was tough. I had some personal bests, but I also had a couple terrible results. It was a rollercoaster,” she said. “I’m the youngest on the Canadian team, so I just wanted to come in here and have fun. On the first day, I wasn’t even nervous; I was just enjoying myself out there. I’m really happy I was able to experience this with my teammates.”
That she gave 25-year-old Johnson-Thompson, who finished sixth at the 2016 Rio Olympics, a good run was a great achievement for the NCAA track star.
She collected personal bests in the 100-metre hurdles, with a time of 13,47 seconds, the 800m, in 2:17.40, the long jump, at 6.19m, and high jump, with 1.84m.
The long jump and 800m results were second-best in their events, while she finished fourth overall in the shotput and high jump. Schultz’s javelin throw was fifth-best.
“Nina had four heptathlon personal bests on her way to over a hundred-point personal-best score,” Kansas State director of track and field Cliff Rovelto said in a press release. “To come away with a medal of any type is pretty special.”
A university sophomore, Schultz entered the Games after finishing second overall in the heptathlon at the NCAA Indoor track and field championships.
“It’s my first senior championships,” she said. “It’s great to get this Games experience under my belt. Coming in, I told myself ‘no matter what happens here, it’ going to be a really good experience to learn from for the upcoming Olympic Games.’”
She returns to the Kansas State campus to focus on the outdoor track season, where she looks to improve on the last year’s marks that saw her finish second in the NCAA, earning All-American honours in the process.