JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (June 5, 2017) – When senior ETSU track and field athlete Katrina Seymour (New Providence, Bahamas) gets set into the blocks at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., everything will seem routine. In front of her are 10 evenly placed hurdles surrounding 400 meters of track surface with multiple competitors right by her side.
Just like on the track, Seymour has had to overcome multiple hurdles during her time in Johnson City. From adjusting to a new town, to wondering if she would be able to compete and dealing with injuries, Seymour’s journey to the NCAA Championships has been nothing but hurdles.
However, both on the track and in life, Seymour has breezed over the hurdles she has faced.
“In life you have a bunch of different hurdles, and many different things and experiences to go through, “said Seymour. “My hurdles in life versus my hurdles on the track have made me stronger in competition and in life.”
During her senior campaign for the Buccaneers, Seymour has re-written the record books. In the indoor season, the hurdler shined at the Southern Conference Championships, earning titles in the 60m dash, 400m, 200m and 4x400 relay. She only continued her success during the outdoor season, as Seymour broke the ETSU school record in the 400mH four times and broke a Bahamian national record at the NCAA East Prelims.
All the accomplishments led to Seymour becoming the first ETSU female track athlete to compete at the NCAA Championships since 2009.
“It is a big accomplishment and something that I have been working hard towards the entire season. I just want to be able to go out, do my best and continue to leave my imprint on the ETSU Track and Field program,” said Seymour.
While the New Providence, Bahamas native makes it look easy on the track; it wasn’t always that way. Arriving at ETSU in January of 2016, Seymour was presented with the challenge of learning a new place, new culture and a new way of life.
“It was real scary and was very different,” said Seymour. “The food is different, the culture is different, the people are different but I had to adjust to the people, the place and the food as well as I had to have a few people adjust to me.”
If moving to a new country and city weren’t big enough hurdles for Seymour, injuries would soon become the next great block. After running a lifetime best time of 56.86 in the 400mH at the Aggie Last Chance Qualifier in 2016, which was one hundredth of a second away from the Bahamian national record, the injury hurdle struck.
A few weeks later at the Aliann Pompey Invitational in Leonora, Guyana, Seymour suffered a season-ending injury, which required months of rehab for a fractured knee and bone bruise. However, once again the hurdles of life were unable to deter Seymour, as she powered her way through the indoor season for ETSU --racking up eight top five finishes, five event victories and ten top ten finishes.
With momentum on her side heading into the SoCon Indoor Championships, the injury bug struck again. While over Christmas break, Seymour suffered a broken big toe while training in the Bahamas.
An injury that still lingers as she head to the NCAA Championships.
Despite the injury, Seymour was named the SoCon Indoor Championships Most Outstanding Track Performer after earning the most points out of any competitor at the meet. Seymour powered through to claim three individual titles in the 60m, 400m and 200m while also earning a SoCon title as part of the women’s 4x400m relay team.
“I am grateful for everything that I have accomplished this season,” said Seymour. “I set a bunch of major and minor goals heading into the season and it all was leading up to this moment.”
With a broken big toe still lingering as the outdoor season began Seymour was able to accomplish one of the most memorable seasons in ETSU Track & Field history -- claiming four event victories, 11 top ten finishes and setting the school record in the 400mH four times.
The SoCon Outdoor Championships was poised for Seymour to shine once again in front of some of the conference’s best athletes, but life had a different plan. Prior to her main event, the 400 meter hurdles, Seymour experienced a tight hamstring, an ultimate hurdle in the track and field world.
“When I hurt myself at the conference meet, I had a conversation with Coach Watts and Coach Stamps. I said to them that my season was done and that there was no way I could recover from this,” said Seymour. “Both coaches encouraged me, so I trusted them and trusted the program. I am happy that I didn’t quit.”
The many hurdles that have been thrown at Seymour during her career at ETSU prepared her for the ultimate moment in Lexington, Kentucky at the NCAA East Prelims. Battling through a hamstring pull and a broken big toe, Seymour got into the right mindset before bursting out of the blocks for the 400mH.
“My mindset when going into the blocks was to take it as another day in practice, because I train a lot harder and that makes the meets become easier,” said Seymour. “The way I see it, it is just one hard rep in practice and I have to make it count.”
Seymour made it count at the NCAA East Prelims.
On day one of the east prelims, Seymour strolled to a second place finish in her heat of the 400mH; giving her one last hurdle, make the NCAA Championships. The next day, despite all of the injuries and all of the hurdles that plagued her throughout the year, Seymour qualified for the national championships with a personal best and ETSU record time of 56.32.
The time of 56.32 also went on to set a new Bahamian Record in the 400 meter hurdles, breaking the previous record set by Michelle Cumberbatch back in 2010. It was yet another goal that had been achieved during Seymour's senior season.
“When I completed the race, it didn’t set-in that I broke the record. I just really wanted to win the race and run a fast time,” said Seymour. “I was really excited and happy because that was one of my goals that I was working towards. I am happy that I got the record.”
Hurdle after hurdle, both on and off the track, Katrina Seymour continues to perceiver. Seymour readies for the NCAA Championships, creating an opportunity of a lifetime, as she is the first ETSU female track and field athlete to compete in the NCAA Championship since 2009. Yet again a hurdle that Seymour has seemingly glided over.
So when Seymour hits the track in Eugene, Ore., at historic Hayward Field for the NCAA Championships, the 10 evenly spaced hurdles covering 400 meters of track will stand before her. Each hurdle seemingly reminds her of the challenges she has been presented at ETSU.