Some students spend their summer working, others traveling or taking time off to relax, but Charlotte Imer and Jamaine Coleman had a summer that they will never forget. Both student-athletes spent the summer competing in the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships that took place in Eugene, Oregon.
Prior to coming to the states Imer, a 23-year-old native from Melbourne, Australia, and Coleman, a 21-year-old native from Preston, England led very different careers.
At the age of 16, a new coach and passion for cross country is what finally made Imer decide she needed to take her running career more seriously than she already was.
“In high school, I was always sort of in a progression phase,” said Imer. “I was always that athlete that got like the ‘Rising Star Award’ or the ‘Most Improved’ award for that season, I was never the outstanding athlete of the year or anything like that.”
Coleman, on the other hand, was a different story.
He started running late in his life at the age of 16, his freshman year of high school. His first year he went all the way to Nationals where he was knocked out of his heat in the first round.
“It was a good experience but it made me hungry for more,” Coleman said.
The next year he received silver in both Nationals and Internationals, which is an event where England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales all compete against each other. He won Nationals his Junior and Senior year despite saying that during his senior year he was, “running really poor.”
After high school, the two track stars didn’t stop.
During the fall semester of her freshmen year of college Imer was ineligible for the cross-country season but said, “It worked out well because I could keep building, essentially, and get used to the training.”
Imer did keep building. The following semester Imer, and the rest of the distance medley relay team, claimed a gold medal setting a meet record time of 11:53.75. Continuing in to her sophomore year Imer didn’t let up, during her fall semester she finished in the top-25 in the South-East region and in spring placed 31st at the NCAA championship.
“It was sort of a breakout year for me,” Imer said.
Coleman, while already having many big races under his belt said his first year at EKU was, “a big learning experience.” After his first cross-country race Coleman was red-shirted and said that the ego he had come in with had quickly been deflated, however, he ended his first season on a high note by setting a PR for a 3K indoor race. Coleman progressed further in his sophomore year setting a new PR during his cross-country season and bringing home a silver medal for the steeplechase during the OVC Outdoor Championships with a time of 9:04.6.
Imer and Coleman, like all athletes, aspire to be the best of the best. This past summer both athletes worked hard and got their chance, an experience that many athletes never get to experience. A trip to the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
“I was ecstatic… it was a runners paradise,” said Imer, “all the hard work had finally paid off.”
Imer competed in the 5,000 meter race finishing 14th out of 24 of the best female runners in the nation with a time of 15:59.3. Imer was also the first woman from EKU to compete in the championships since 2013.
“My coach and I have a good relationship,” Imer said. “I think that’s what helped me get there physically and it also mentally prepared me for the race.”
Coleman, going in to Nationals had the second fastest time in the nation for steeplechase with a time of 8:34.1.
“That was like the pinnacle of the season,” Coleman said.
Unfortunately, Coleman had rolled his ankle after the preliminaries which set his training back because he was unable to run for little bit of time.
Coleman said he was, “disappointed with the race,” but he would go on to finish 13th out of 24 men in the steeplechase with a time of 8:43.8.
Both athletes are going in to the future hungry to get back to nationals and bring back a title to EKU though many obstacles, physically and mentally, stand in their way.
“It’s a lot of pressure but I’ve said to myself, ‘I will not be satisfied with anything other than the title,’ I want to be national champion this year.”