This week’s athlete of the week is Auna Childress.
This is Childress’ first season in the Pittsburg State University track and field program. She is an undeclared freshman.
“I started competing in seventh grade, but I didn’t start taking things seriously until, I would say, probably sophomore or junior year of high school,” Childress said.
Recently, Childress traveled with the women’s track and field team to compete in the UCM Mule Relays in Warrensburg, Mo. on Friday, April 16. Childress earned second place in both the long jump (17-8.75) and the triple jump (38-4).
“I like getting to meet new people whether it’s at competition or my teammates,” Childress said. “Spending time at meets helps me get to know my teammates more and have fun. I just like watching people run and compete and just show what they’re capable of doing.”
Time management is an important skill for any student athlete. While it wasn’t an issue in high school for Childress, it became more difficult once she became a student athlete in college.
“I would say it’s not hard at all in some cases just because once I finish my schedule and once I start getting acclimated to prioritizing my time and managing my time with track and academics, I feel like it’s a lot easier,” Childress said. “But with the workload and having to deal with mental health and making sure I’m typically healthy for track, it’s kind of like been a little bit harder this semester but I’m starting to get… acclimated to having to deal with both…”
Competing at the collegiate level is one thing Childress is proud of herself for, but she also hopes to continue her athletic career after she graduates.
“In my family, I would say we have a lot of athletes and a lot of them stop during high school or after high school because they don’t really see themselves going further,” Childress said. “For me, just to know that I was able to get scholarships to come to college and compete still at a collegiate level and doing the sport that I love doing, it actually means a lot to me and I kind of want to take it farther by possibly going pro and competing for team USA.”
Childress has several accomplishments she is proud of.
“I would just say my biggest accomplishment has been… getting a PR every meet and that just shows that I’m (getting better with) each practice… and I’m working a lot of harder..,” Childress said.
The Pitt State track and field squads have one upcoming competition before conference championships. The Gorillas will stay home for the weekend and host the Pittsburg State Tune-Up in Carnie Smith Stadium on Saturday, April 24.
This year, the MIAA Outdoor Championships will be held at Pittsburg State University in Carnie Smith Stadium from Saturday, May 8 through Sunday, May 9. Following that is the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships which will be held from Thursday, May 27 through Saturday, May 29 in Allendale, Mich.