Brianna Schmitz, senior health promotion major and HPER graduate student, was recently ranked the number one track and field athlete after breaking a 21 year Emporia State record in the pentathlon event.
According to Schmitz, she was not expecting to move up to first on the national list.
“I was in shock. It was definitely nothing I was expecting,” Schmitz said. “It’s kind of honestly hard to imagine. I really didn’t ever think I would be in that spot.”
Schmitz broke the 1998 pentathlon record of 3,672 points set by Deandra Doubrava, alumna, with her personal record of 3,767 points, according to ESU Athletics. Erin Blocker, assistant track and field coach, was there on the day Schmitz broke the record.
“We knew that she could do it going into (the meet),” Erin Blocker said. “She’s had such an awesome senior year. Really, she’s had a great career. Every year she just gets better and better. She was just on fire that day.”
It was a couple days later when the national list was updated and Schmitz was confirmed in the top spot.
“It’s just really neat to see such a good person, such a hard worker, somebody that didn’t start out at as that natural, raw athlete be able to work her way up to that,” Erin Blocker said. “It’s just the perfect reward for all that hard work and dedication.”
According to Steve Blocker, head track and field coach, watching Schmitz grow as an athlete since her freshman year has been a privilege.
“(Watching her grow) has been pretty unbelievable really,” Steve Blocker said. “She’s improved, obviously, every year...She’s really just matured in terms of her mentality and her overall leadership. She’s gotten so much better on the track and (she’s) willing to learn.”
Her journey hasn’t always been easy though, according to Schmitz. There have been plenty of challenges she’s had to overcome during her athletic career.
“I’ve had to go through two stress fractures in my foot, so taking that time off was very hard.” Schmitz said. “Probably another big one was coming in freshman year, I didn’t really know any of the events, so I was starting from square one. My performance wasn’t anything outstanding. Just trusting the process and sticking with it even when things weren’t going well and knowing that if you just keep working hard, the results will happen when they need to.”
Even though Schmitz has challenges over the years, Steve Blocker said that she’s just pushed through them.
“Her event requires a lot of training, a lot of jumping, which can take its toll on the shins and lower joins,” Steve Blocker said. “She’s trained right through them. She continually pushes through that discomfort. We’ve had to modify her training at times to manage that, but she’s tough.”
In her last few months at ESU, Schmitz said she really wants to focus on enjoying her time as an ESU athlete.
“(A) goal of mine is to really just soak it all in,” Schmitz said. “I know that my career is coming to an end. My career’s gonna be done in a couple of months. More than anything, I don’t want to stress about the outcome. I really just wanna enjoy it because it’s something that I love; I don’t wanna get caught up in hitting certain marks.”