College athlete of the week

Player: Sarah Schireman

Year, school: Freshman, University of Washington

Sport: Track and field

Hometown: Everett (Archbishop Murphy High School)

What she did: Finished 12th in the heptathlon at the California Invite, turning in a score of 4,458 points that ranks sixth in the Pac-10 and is the ninth-highest heptathlon score in UW history.

What’s next: While the outdoor season still has a few events remaining, Schireman is setting her sights on the Pac-10 championships in early May.

The two-minute drill

Well, it certainly hasn’t taken you long to adjust to the college level. Did you ever expect to have this much success so early?

I was a little nervous starting out, especially at the (NCAA) Division I level, but I had trust in the coaches and all my teammates to help me get where I need to be. I’ve always been a hard worker, so I figured as long as I did what they told me to do, I’d be perfectly OK.

Was that your first outdoor heptathlon at UW?

Yeah, for UW. I did one last year, at the end of my senior year (in high school), but it was my first one here.

So not such a bad debut, huh?

Yeah. I was hoping for a little bit better. I didn’t get some of the marks I was hoping to get in a couple of the events. But it set me off to a good start, and I can do a lot better with the Pac-10s coming up.

When you were at Archbishop Murphy High School, you won state in the 100-meter hurdles and finished second in three other events, single-handedly giving your team 34 points — more than all but three other teams. How nice is it to be able to combine all your events as a college heptathlete?

It’s really nice. It’s good to try out a whole bunch of different things. I definitely don’t get bored with practices. I work on something different every day. And I’m used to competing in multiple events at meets, so it’s not that different. I’ve just added on three more, and it’s a lot of fun.

I read somewhere that you were actually a bit disappointed with your performance at state because you only won one event. Is that true?

Yeah, I was supposed to win three. For me, state was a lot of work and a lot of time. Prelims and finals in every event really took a lot out of my legs. So I got to the last day, and I really couldn’t perform like I’m used to.

Let’s say U.S. Track and Field put you in charge of taking out one event in the heptathlon and replacing it with another. Which ones would you choose?

I would take out the shot put and I would put in the triple jump. With shot put, I don’t have a huge upper body — I’m not as strong as the other girls — and there’s actually a lot of technique. It’s definitely one of my weaker events. And in high school, I did the triple jump and got pretty comfortable with it.

If you were to make up a heptathlon of non-athletic events you enjoy away from track, what would some of the events be?

Oh, man. I would add bocce ball, just because I think that’s really fun. It would be interesting, for sure. A couple of us were talking how it would be hilarious to add juggling or something with a dance to it, like in gymnastics. That would be interesting.

I see you played soccer at Archbishop Murphy. Did you ever take your jumping skills onto a basketball court?

Yeah, I did basketball all through grade school and then two years in high school. I did pretty well. I could’ve gone on to play the next couple years on the varsity team, but I knew that I wouldn’t get as much playing time because I knew a bunch of the girls in the grade below me were really great. So I just thought I’d practice track more and get a head start on that because I knew I’d probably do that in college.

Were there any other sports you enjoyed?

I played a lot of volleyball in grade school. We still play sometimes on Sundays. I think the spiking motion really helps with the javelin.

So now that you’ve already recorded a top-10 score in UW history, what are your goals like?

I really want to move up in heptathlon, as well as long jump, in UW history. To get up into the top five would be fantastic. I’m just really looking forward to Pac-10s, to maybe go out and surprise people and reach my full potential.

How about your goals in bocce ball and juggling?

(Laughs) Um, my goal is to definitely (to) learn how to juggle. And then with bocce ball, it would be great to actually have some nice weather to be able to go out there and get some games going.

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