One of the most difficult events in track and field is the 400-meter dash. Athletes have to be part cheetah, part gazelle — a precise mix of speed and endurance.
As a ninth-grader at Peninsula High School, Megan Eberhardt attained that precision. She recorded her fastest time of the season at the West Central/Southwest bi-district championships, and that catapulted her into the Class 3A state meet, where she finished 13th.
Eberhardt didn’t slack off during the offseason. She was a solid contributor for the Seahawks’ trophy-winning cross country squad, and track coach Curtiss Hall said she was a mainstay in the school’s weight room during the winter.
She’s looking to cut two or three seconds from her specialty event this spring, and that could place her in the top eight and on the medal podium as a sophomore.
Eberhardt took time prior to a workout last week to speak with The Peninsula Gateway about her burgeoning high-school career:
The Peninsula Gateway: Are you hungry to improve and possibly finish on the state podium in the 400 meters?
Megan Eberhardt: Yeah. I really want to get my time down to under 60 (seconds) this year, and I’ve been training a lot harder than last year. I did a lot of offseason training, more than I did last year, and I’m really excited for this season.
PG: How did you get started with track?
ME: I’ve been doing it since sixth grade at Harbor Ridge Middle School. I used to play soccer, and I was kind of fast. My parents did track, so they wanted me to do it.
PG: As a freshman, was it a shock to see the athleticism of the juniors and seniors you were competing against?
ME: Yeah, I was kind of intimated, because I was just a little freshman. But then I got pretty far in the season, and it was a good experience because I learned that age doesn’t really matter as much as your abilities.
PG: You ran cross country last fall. Is that a totally different type of training than track?
ME: You have to have a lot of endurance for cross country, and so I think that kind of base, I kept it going through the offseason. That’s helping me, and I can definitely see a difference in my endurance in the 400.
PG: What are reasonable goals for you by the end of the season?
ME: My goal is 59 or 58 seconds. It’s probably good enough for the finals at state, but it depends on the season and the people who make it to state.
PG: Who are your biggest influences in this sport?
ME: Coach (Joel) Wingard and coach Hall. A lot of those endurance workouts I do with coach Wingard, and then the speed is with coach Hall. They’ve pushed me to work really hard. Watching the Olympics, I liked Allyson Felix.
PG: What do you like to do when you’re not competing or training?
ME: I like to hang out with my friends a lot. And I really like to work out, even if it’s just lifting weights or going to the Y.
PG: Do you have any favorite music or movies?
ME: I really like Justin Bieber (laughing). My favorite movie is “The Notebook.” I like Nicholas Sparks movies.Sports Editor Neil Pierson can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_neil.