you really specialize in maybe ….
you really specialize in maybe one or two things. In high school, if you need me to run the mile, I’ll do it. You need me to long jump, I’ll do it. They kinda toss you in wherever. I missed being at track meets and just doing a lot and just being involved basically.”
Meyer approached her coaches as the 2018 season started and got the OK.
“There was one other girl that was doing the multi at the time,” Meyer said. “She helped me get into it, helped me learn some things. My sophomore year I hurdled for the first time, high jumped for the first time, threw shot put for the first time. That’s where it all started. It was really nice that every single person that I talked to was super supportive of me doing it, which I think really helped as well. I think when I told Sydney Emmerich about it, she was like, ‘OK, yeah, do it.’ She’s my best friend. That’s how I got into, just talking to people. How cool is that? Seven events? Yeah I can do that.”
Her first heptathlon was at the Augustana Meet of Champions April 20-21, 2018 in Rock Island, Ill. The seven-event heptathlon includes the 100-meter high hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin and 800-meter run. She scored a modest 2,829 points and took 17th.
Meyer competed in her first two pentathlons during the 2018-19 winter season, scoring 1,618 points at the Wartburg Indoor Select and then jumping up to 2,282 points and placing 13th at the WIAC Indoor Championships at UW-Whitewater. The pentathlon includes the 60-meter hurdles, 800-meter run, high jump, long jump and shot put.
Last spring, she returned to Augustana and shot up to 3,236 points and third place in the heptathlon. She was 11th at the WIAC meet that Platteville hosted with 3,312 points, which is her personalbest total.
The toughest hurdle to overcome was, well, the hurdles.
“Hurdles was so hard for me,” Meyer said. “I have improved by leaps and bounds in hurdles. I used to be terrified. I could barely go over one hurdle starting out. Now I just kinda fly. I’m not really good, but I can certainly fly over them now much easier than I used to. High jump was another one that was difficult. Even shot put, you just realize the technique work that goes into some of these events, it’s just crazy. They definitely all had their challenges but I would say hurdles I struggled with most.
“It is really cool to see videos of me when I first started hurdling to see videos of me hurdling now,” she added. “It’s literally night and day. It’s the same with high jump, the same with shot put. Frankly, it’s all my events. My 200 improved, it’s crazy.” In the 2020 WIAC Indoor Championships, Meyer was 12th overall out of 17 pentathletes and set personal bests in the hurdles, high jump and shot put.
She placed seventh among the pentathletes in the shot put at 9.86 meters, which equates to 32 feet, 4.25 inches and was 12th among high jumpers at 1.41 meters (4 feet, 7.5 inches). She was 15th in the hurdles in 10.64 seconds.
Meyer placed a solid sixth in the group in the long jump at 4.83 meters (15 feet, 10.25 inches) and was 16th in the 800-meter run at 2:56.04.
The Pioneers finished seventh in the team standings in the meet with 36 points, 21 points ahead of last-place UWRiver Falls.
“My first multi that we had in Whitewater (Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2,088 points) did not go very well, unfortunately,” Meyer said. “I think it’s so weird, I only seem to do well when it matters. I don’t know why. Being at the conference championships, the atmosphere is so different. You’re there with pretty much the best of the best because so many of the WIAC athletes go to nationals. So you’re out there competing with these great athletes. The atmosphere is just so much fun and you want to do well and you want to just go for it.”
Also during this indoor season, Meyer set a personal-best time of 10.11 seconds while placing 14th in the 55-meter hurdles at the University of Dubuque Spartan Invitational on Feb. 21. She was ninth that day in the long jump at 4.55 meters (14-11.25).
She ran the 400-meter dash twice, placing 12th in 1:07.81 at the UW-Platteville Invitational Feb. 15 and 14th at a WIAC Triangular with UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stevens Point on Jan. 25 with a time of 1:10.61. She was ninth in the long jump at 4.56 meters (14-11.5) and 11th in the 60-meter hurdles (12.17) in that triangular. She was eighth in the high jump at 1.4 meters (4-7) in the Platteville Invite. Meyer’s last race was the 60-meter hurdles at the March 6 UW-Platteville Last Chance Meet. She took sixth in the preliminaries at 11.84 seconds.
As her focus was shifting to the outdoor season, things came to a screeching halt. Within a matter of days, the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships were canceled as athletes were arriving at Winston-Salem, N.C. and the WIAC and NCAA canceled entire spring seasons. With coaches being quarantined upon their return from North Carolina, athletes got all the updates through email.
“It was upsetting at first, that’s for sure,” Meyer said. “There’s just nothing you can do. It’s been hard not being able to really communicate with my teammates and kinda mourn together, if you will. Even to just get together as a team and have a cookout or just a little bit of bonding. We can’t even do that. It’s basically non-contact. It was tough hearing that, that’s for sure.”
The NCAA has declared spring athletes won’t lose their year of eligibility, so Meyer could return for the 2021 outdoor season. She has a co-op work opportunity with Trane Heating and Air Conditioning in La Crosse that will carry her from June through December and, because of that, she won’t graduate until next May. But right now, she’s leaning against competing.
“I feel like a lot of my teammates, that are all seniors too, a lot of them are graduating and I think it would be hard to come back without having their support,” Meyer said. “Being a senior with a different group of seniors I think wouldn’t feel the same. I don’t want to say I wouldn’t enjoy it as much, but I just think it would be harder not to have my group of friends that I’ve gone through the whole four years with. If they’re done, I think I’m done too.”
Meyer is an industrial technology management major with an emphasis in manufacturing. Her minor is occupational safety. Her degree and work experiences between an occupational safety internship last summer and the opportunity with Trane should give her plenty of options after graduation.
She also plans to return to her cross country roots, getting back into some long-distance running.
“I’m so grateful for the experience that I had,” Meyer said. “It was just so fun. Even back in high school I just enjoyed it so much. I love it. I really do. Hopefully I can give back to some community some day and maybe coach. I don’t know. I’m on the fence about that. But I’m only 22 years old. I have time.”