This weekend sprinter Leah Anderson will look to extend her time as a member of the St. John’s University track and field team. It has been a remarkable five years. Anderson is intent on it concluding with a trip to Eugene, Oregon, for the NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships. First, she must outrun the competition at the NCAA Regional Championships in Bloomington, Indiana.
“Overall, it’s been a great experience coaching Leah,” said St. John’s director of track and field Aliann Pompey. “By her sophomore year she was more fearless. She took some chances and they paid off. It just went from there. She pretty quickly became a leader on the team. She started off shy, but she says what needs to be said. She’s one of those people who leads by example.
“We leaned on her quite a bit as one of the captains to get the right message across and I think she did an excellent job,” she added.
At the Big East Outdoor Championships, Anderson was named the Big East Most Outstanding Track Performer and the meet’s high-point performer. She also set a new Big East record in the 400. Joining Anderson in Bloomington are freshman sprinter Tatyana McKenzie, senior sprinter Skyy Diop and two other runners from the 4×400 relay, Mandana Vouillemin and Brooklyn Chestnut. Pompey said Anderson propelled the momentum that led to this kind of success.
“[The Big East] was everything you want to happen at a championship meet,” said Pompey. “Everybody committed to our purpose over the weekend, and it worked out great. … People see we can do this out of New York, and each year it’s gotten better.”
Pompey had to push McKenzie, who is normally a 400-meter runner, to run the 100. “She’s a crucial piece on our 4×400 and this year our 4×100. We knew Skyy and Leah would do well in the 400, and we didn’t want to leave the 100 wide open. We put Tatyana in there and she ended up winning,” said Pompey, adding that McKenzie is gritty and gutsy.
Graduation was last weekend and after the NCAA Championships St. John’s will bid goodbye to Diop and Anderson. Diop will return to Canada and try to make the Canadian national team and run at the World Championships this summer. Anderson plans to continue her track career.