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Sophomore track star Myers sprints past16-year-old indoor track record

By Reis Thebault
On February 4, 2013

Charlotte Myers, a sophomore and burgeoning track and field star who runs the 400m and 4x400m relay races, broke a school record by .38 of a second. Her coaches expect this to be just another step in the long, successful path in Myers' career.

The 16-year-old record was in an event that Myers rarely even runs: the 600m. The previous mark, set by Becca Williams in 1996, was 1:34.39. Williams holds several Mid-American Conference (MAC) records and boasts a national championship in the 400m hurdles. Myers clocked in at an impressive 1:34.01 on Jan. 19 at Indiana University's Gladstein Invitational.

Assistant coach and sprints, hurdles and jumps coach Brian Etelman said Myers' time shows natural ability.

"You have to be talented to run what she did," Etelman said. "She did that without really training that much. She just went out there and did it."

The 600m run is not something that Myers competes in often, as there is no 600m event at the MAC conference. However, after Etelman proposed trying it out, Myers took the opportunity.

"The [600m] wasn't really a top priority," Myers said. "I didn't think anything of it and my coach gave me an option. I ran it just to see what I could do."

According to Myers, running a longer distance than normal took a little getting used to.

"It's more of a strategic run, so I didn't really know what I was doing," Myers said.

However, Myers said judging from recent, record-breaking results, she is settling into it quite nicely.

"The more I run [the 600m], the more I understand how to race it," Myers said.

Coming into the Gladstein Invitational, neither her, nor her coaches' eyes were set on the record books.

"We don't ever pay attention to [records]," head coach Kelly Phillips said. "It's just fun when it happens."

Etelman shared a similar attitude.

"I don't focus on records that much because if you're doing the right thing, they should be broken all the time," Etelman said.

Myers has also been very successful in the 4x400m relay. She has contributed to three of the top five best 400m relay times in school history-including the top two spots-all as a freshman.

Etelman shared his theory for this success.

"She thrives with teammates around her, she doesn't want to let anyone down," Etelman said.

According to Myers, the challenge for her and her teammates will be to carry that success over to this season, as three of the runners on last year's record-setting relay team graduated.

"Last year we had an awesome relay team and this year we have a ton of potential so hopefully we will be just as good," Myers said.

While she praises this year's and last year's relay teams, Myers is not as kind to her own performance.

"I wasn't as successful as an individual, in my open events, so I'm hoping that I'll do better in my individual events this year," Myers said.

However, her coaches are not as harsh.

"The 400m is arguably the hardest event to be successful in," Etelman said. "In the open 400m event, you really can't hide. She was an 18-year-old freshman, she did awesome."

Miami first recruited Myers to play soccer, which she did, her freshman year, but after winning a 400m state championship in high school, she began to explore track and field at a collegiate level as well. She ceased playing soccer after her first year to focus wholly on track.

"I think that last year, I didn't excel in either of the two sports so I thought that just concentrating on one would help me," Myers said. "I think that I had more potential in track. I had been playing soccer my whole life and I loved it, as a sport, it was my first love but I started track when I was in eighth grade, so I'd only been running for five years and, I mean, my training in high school wasn't that much so I knew that, with what I did in high school, I could do a lot more in college."

From her coaches, there is nothing but praise for all that she has done in her short time at Miami, and for the way that she has done it.

"What is great about her is that no matter what is going on away from the track, whenever she comes to practice you think she is having the best day ever," Phillips said. "She is one of the toughest competitors and always has a smile on her face."

Coach Etelman, who coaches Myers directly, while coach Phillips oversees the team, is equally complementary.

"There is a very high level of self-awareness for her," Etelman said. "This makes it easy to constantly be moving forward and getting better and better and she is really competitive, very accountable and very easy to coach so it kind of makes my job nice."

While it may seem that Myers has already reached the pinnacle of track and field at Miami, there are still expectations for the remainder of her career.

"Charlotte is really, really talented," Etelman said. "There are not many people that can do what she can do. My expectations are to get her to realize how talented she is. When that moment clicks, she is going to be a beast. My expectations are for her to get to that point and realize how good she is. When she does that, the sky is the limit."

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