Katie Wise wasn’t going to revise her training regimen or racing strategy simply because it would be her first track-and-field competition not taking place on U.S. soil.
Going fast is going fast.
The former Indian Creek High School sprinter demonstrated over the weekend why she’s one of this country’s rising stars by impressing at the 2014 North America Central America Caribbean (NACAC) Under 23 Championships in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Located four hours northeast of Vancouver, Kamloops is a city of about 85,000, with a carefully constructed reputation for hosting prominent Canadian sporting events.
The NACAC is one such venue — a three-day event that this year drew men and women athletes from 31 countries to aptly named Hillside Stadium.
Given the quality of competition and breathtaking Canadian scenery, the showcase is an experience Wise, about to start her junior year at Indiana State University, will fondly recall long after she hangs up her spiked footwear.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Wise, who’ll enter her third school year at ISU riding a wave of momentum after taking second in the 100-meter dash in 11.58 seconds and running second leg for the Americans’ 400 relay team, which by blazing a 43.89 won handily over sprint relays from Canada and Jamaica.
“This was my first international experience, and it inspires me to get better and see where my talent can take me.”
Wise earned her Team USA invite in June by placing 11th (second among collegians) in the semifinals of the 100 meters in a time of personal-best 11.25 seconds at the USA Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, California.
In Kamloops she finished runner-up to Texas Tech senior Cierra White in the 100.
The two later teamed to get Team USA off to a rousing start in the 400 relay, White running leadoff and then handing the baton to Wise. Strong kicks at the end were provided by former University of Florida All-American Ebony Eutsey and University of Central Florida senior Octavious Freeman.
“This was my first time running against Cierra. We were actually roommates at this meet, so I got to know her really well,” Wise said. “This was the fastest 400 relay team I have ever been a part of. We didn’t have the best hand-offs, but our goal was to be able to get the baton all the way around the track.”
Also an accomplished 200-meter dash competitor, Wise didn’t take part in the longer of her two individual events as each country could enter two athletes per event.
Returning to the states with one gold medal and a silver is the kind of motivation capable of driving a young lady to reach higher in her chosen athletic specialty.
Wise, who doesn’t turn 21 until October, could be at or nearing her sprinting peak once it’s time to attempt to qualify for a spot on Team USA leading into the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
As for now, she’s more interested in giving herself time to relax.
“I’m going to take a couple weeks off,” said Wise, whose sophomore campaign at ISU included numerous honors during both the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.
“Conditioning starts the second week of school. I will be able to take some time off before I have to start preparing for next season.”