Quaker Valley grad Bemis finds continued success with indoor track and field
Tabitha Bemis had already enjoyed a busy weekend at the PSAC Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 23 and 24 by winning the 60-meter hurdles, triple jump and long jump.
But that all came before the Quaker Valley graduate was thrust into Edinboro's 4x400-meter relay team on short notice and led the team to victory, prompting Bemis to be named the 2013 PSAC indoor track and field championship field MVP and Overall Most Valuable Athlete as she led Edinboro to a second-place finish.
Edinboro's top runner on the 4x400-meter relay team was unable to compete after being in emergency care the night before with pneumonia, so Fighting Scots coach Doug Watts turned to Bemis, a junior, to fill the void and run as the second leg in the race, despite a lack of preparation.
“You can't deny, once she got that baton, she could have got beat but she has something tremendously special that can pull out,” Watts said. “I'm not telling you that she ran for herself in any way whatsoever. She ran for the team and the effect that it could have with everybody else.”
“The 4x4 was the icing on the cake,” Bemis said. “I think that was the highlight of the meet for me.”
But the 4x400 victory was just one of many highlights for the former Quaker Valley standout, who took home gold in four events at the PSAC championship.
Bemis won the long jump on the first day of the event before claiming the title in the triple jump (11.86 meters) and 60-meter hurdles championship with a time of 8.60 in the event's second day.
Winning those three individual titles to go along with her team title in the relay made Bemis an easy choice for the meet's top honors, an award she is grateful to have won. She also was named the Atlantic Region's athlete of the year for the second straight season.
“It's an honor just knowing that I could come in and I really just wanted to perform how I knew I could perform and wherever that put me was great,” Bemis said. “My performance wasn't the best I wanted, but it ended up being the best that day.”
The All-Atlantic Region honoree quickly turned her attention to the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships over the weekend in Birmingham, Ala.
Bemis, a two-time All-American, triple jumped 12.04 meters, which was good enough for 11th overall. She also ran to a 16th-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles (8.90) and jumped to the 12th-place finish in the long jump (5.68 meters).
While Watts said it's always great to be named as an All-American, that isn't necessarily the outward goal he has for Bemis this year.
“I don't care if she's an All-American or not,” Watts said prior to the national meet. “That's not the measurement of who she was, she already proved who she was.
“You've more than achieved our goals. She's more than achieved what she's needed to do as a good runner and a good jumper so whatever comes out of there is only going to be truly icing on the cake.”
Alex Oltmanns is a freelance writer.