WSU senior quarter miler Shawna Fermin plans to wear the Cougar jersey at least more one time after she competes at the NCAA Championships for WSU in Eugene, Ore.
Fermin will compete in the women’s 400m dash semifinals Wednesday, May 5, but said she will wear the Cougar jersey again to thank those who have supported her at WSU as she tries to qualify for the Trinidad and Tobago world team this summer.
"It would be nice to have that spirit while I’m running," Fermin said. "I feel like it’s more honorable for me to wear it and just be thankful for the opportunity the last four years."
Growing up in America, Fermin said she was raised off of Trinidad culture from her parents, and it has become a big part of her life.
"They have always emphasized the culture since I was growing up," Fermin said. "When I found out I could run for the team I just took the advantage of the opportunity."
Fermin said she feels honored to be the only Cougar athlete competing in the NCAA Championships, but wishes more of her teammates were competing with her.
Every year her motivation to do well in track grows, Fermin said, and she knows the combination of working hard on the track and in the weight room has made her stronger over the years.
"I’m working on my mechanics more, that can really make a difference especially in the last 100 meters of your race," Fermin said. "If you have bad mechanics it can slow you down."
Fermin said the most challenging obstacle this year was not performing well in the indoor season.
Before stepping onto the track, Fermin said she tries not to think about the race the night before and listens to music a few hours before the race to relax.
"When I’m warming up on the track, I like when people are open to conversation because that takes away from the nerves and me focusing on the race," Fermin said.
Aside from competing, Fermin said the most important part of track is taking care of her body through healthy eating styles and habits.
"If you don’t take care of your body it could traverse the other way, and you could get injured," Fermin said.
Last summer, Fermin represented Trinidad and Tobago in the women’s 400m dash at the 2012 North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) U-23 Track & Field Championships in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Fermin ran a preliminary time of 54.45 seconds and advanced to the final where she placed sixth with a time of 53.42.
Fermin said the team received a lot of support at the meet, and people started to believe in the team after they beat Jamaica.
"I really had a good experience in Mexico," Fermin said. "The trip to Mexico gave us an opportunity to prove to the country that we are actually competitive."
This summer Fermin said she will try to qualify for the Trinidad and Tobago world team, with trials beginning in June.
It was nice to see herself grow as an athlete in the last four years at WSU, Fermin said, though she never thought she would see this much improvement coming out of high school.
"In high school, I always wanted to get a scholarship in track, but my times were not that fast," Fermin said. "I got a new coach my senior year and my times were still not that fast, and then all of a sudden, my times dropped two seconds."
Fermin recorded her personal best time of 52.99 seconds and placed 18th in the 400m dash at the 2012 NCAA Championships.