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Saunders to compete in USATF event

Former Nansemond River High School standout Sha’Keela Saunders is set to compete in the USA track and field outdoor championships this weekend.

Saunders, a former Team WAR standout, is looking to claim a gold medal at the championships in Iowa. She is extremely excited about competing after having a rollercoaster ride of a 2018 so far. She strained her hamstring and then tore it in February, which ended her indoor season. However, she worked hard to get back and ended up at the Outdoor Nationals.

“I found a great physical therapist out in Lexington, and he worked with me every single day until my first meet of the outdoor season at the end of April.”

In her first outdoor meet, she equaled her season-best opener and has been improving ever since. Last weekend, she competed in Stockholm, Sweden, where she qualified for USATF outdoor championships, and she is excited and confident about her chances there.

“I am yearning for the victory,” she said. “I don’t have really have a mark or goal I want to reach. I just want the victory.”

The one thing about track and field that the athletes enjoy is that it sends them all over the world. Also, for Saunders, there is no better feeling and no better reason to be thankful for the sport than the things that she gets to see on her journey.

“Traveling is one of the best parts of having a track and field career,” she said. “I have been to places like Berlin, London, Sweden, Jamaica and many more. Hopefully, I’ll be adding more locations to the list this summer.”

At Nansemond River, Saunders was ranked No. 1 in the state for the long jump and won a state title. From there, she went on to compete at the University of Kentucky and become an NCAA champion in the indoor long jump event. She is a 12-time All-American. While she is a professional track and field athlete, she recently joined the University of Kentucky as a volunteer assistant coach.