TERRE HAUTE —
Lindsay Welker and her family know everything you need to know about getting to Greensboro, N.C., after a busy summer of track meets.
When Lindsay finished second Saturday in the 15-16 girls 800-meter final in U.S.A. Track and Field Federation Junior Olympic competition, it was her second trip to the North Carolina A&T campus. She was also at Greensboro in June, where she didn’t place — against older and much stiffer competition — in the same event but still established her personal-best time of 2:12.8 at the New Balance Nationals.
“I was one of two freshmen there,” she said, advancing to that meet after state and regional qualifiers.
It was a good summer to cap a productive freshman year for the Terre Haute North student, who will take a brief rest before joining the Patriot cross country team.
“I’m very happy,” Welker said Monday when asked about her most recent year of competition. “At the beginning of the [track] season I set a goal, and I exceeded it by more than I ever imagined.”
As versatile a runner as you’ll ever find, Welker thinks part of the reason for her success was a summer of working on just one event.
“I think it’s the 800,” she answered when asked if she’d picked a favorite distance. “I used to be a 400 runner … I hadn’t really trained [exclusively for the 800] until this year.”
Welker was sixth in that event at the state finals in June, two spots behind teammate TaPring Goatee, and anchored a 4x800 relay team that finished fourth in the state with one of the best times in the country.
Don’t expect her to become a complete specialist, however. She’s competed in all but one non-hurdling race already.
“I’ve never been thrown into [the 3,200-meter run],” she noted Monday although — considering she’s also been a key member of state-finalist cross country team — the distance is certainly not out of her range.
She can run fast, she can run long, and she can run fast and long, in other words. She’ll be willing to do whatever coach Mike Dason asks — 100, 1,600, 3,200, anything in between — with the help of her summer 800-meter trainer James Twitchell and her strength coach Craig Gillaspy.
The soon-to-be sophomore was effusive in praise of all her coaches, and said Monday there’s a simple reason for her success.
“Lots of hard work,” Welker noted, “and all the little things — strength training, being out on the track in the hot summer, food, ice, stretching … it all came together.”
Lindsay also admits to getting inspiration from her older sister. Rachel Welker is currently a sophomore golfer at Eastern Kentucky and was also a pole vaulter for the North track team.
“She showed me that hard work pays off,” the younger sister said. “Our sports couldn’t be more different, but I see her working every day at her sport, doing the little things. She showed me that’s what it takes.”
As she readies herself for her second high school year, Lindsay says she has even more to work on.
“I’ve got to set the bar even higher,” she said. “Have a big cross country season, train all winter, then have some big goals for the outdoor [track] season … it’ll be a lot of work, but it will take that to get to the next level.”
Working on her 800 all summer didn’t leave Lindsay with any cross country time, but she knows what to expect when she joins Dason and the Patriots shortly.
“We have some incoming freshmen who will be good additions,” she said. “We lost some very good seniors [including four-time state finalist Chanli Mundy], but we should be very strong.”