Washington & Jefferson's Traynor back on track in record time

| Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Injury is the worst nightmare of any athlete, but North Hills graduate Brittany Traynor trudged through with no complaints.

After straining her hamstring in December, the Washington & Jefferson freshman exceeded everyone's expectations on the track.

Traynor missed the first two indoor track meets and ran her first Jan. 25 at the Youngstown State Invitational in Ohio. The now-healthy runner placed 14th in the 60-meter dash featuring competitors at all NCAA levels. Traynor crossed the line at 8.26 and recorded a new W&J indoor track record.

“I was just thinking about crossing the finish line as soon as I could. I was just really excited to run again,” said Traynor, 19, of Ross Township. “It was all I could think about.”

The previous record was set by Kelli Gee in 2007 at the Kent State Golden Flash Gala with a time of 8.38. Gee was a senior at the time and one of the best track and field athletes to pass through Washington & Jefferson.

If that wasn't impressive enough, Traynor went on to break her own record at Mt. Union's Jim Wuske Invitational on Feb. 2. She ran 60-meter dash in 8.20 for a first place finish. Traynor also took a pair of second-place finishes in the 200-meter dash, with 27.76, and the 4x200 medley relay.

“There is a ton of potential there because this is only her second collegiate race,” W&J head coach Shawn Marek said. “We are expecting some really great things. I won't be surprised at all if at Kent State (coming up), she'll break her old record again. She's finally started to hit training full stride.”

The Presidents will return to competition at the Kent State Tune-Up on Saturday, where Traynor is expected to qualify for the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships. An 8.10 is required to compete in the 60-meter dash. That competition is set for March 1 and 2 in New York City.

Marek said he thinks that the championships will set Traynor up for a successful outdoor season and possibly to achieve her ultimate goal — nationals.

“We do goal sheets at the beginning of the season, and she had that on her goal sheet,” Marek said, “to qualify for nationals. As a freshman that's a pretty tall order. I know she can do it. I think we'll get pretty close this year, and if we don't do it this year, we'll get it next year. I know she'll keep working hard and get herself to achieve it.”

Traynor has the work ethic and personality of a successful sprinter. She spent hours at a time aqua jogging and rehabbing and set an example for her teammates before competing at the Division III level.

For outdoor competition, Traynor will try to reach nationals while competing in the 100m, 200m, 4x100 relay and, occasionally, the 4x400 relay. For her, there is only one way to get there.

“I have to work more on my weight lifting and stuff like that because it helps you get stronger,” Traynor said, “It all comes down to working hard at practice.”

Britanny Goncar is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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