|ISU walk ons prove themselves|
|Written by Ashley Schrader, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Thursday, 03 May 2012 16:14|
For a select amount of ISU track and field athletes, the reward for their hard work, dedication, and performances comes in the form of an Athletic Scholarship.
But for walk ons Ashley Kamin and Rachael Brewer, the reward is having the chance to participate in their favorite events while representing the Redbirds in the process.
“I definitely feel that I have to always prove myself [more than someone who was recruited],” Kamin said. “I feel that it’s even more important that I come to practice everyday and am ready to go and have a good attitude about it. But I have such talented teammates, and I really look up to all of them.”
Freshman distance runner Kamin participated in high school cross country before walking onto the ISU cross country and track team, while sophomore distance runner Brewer ran half-marathons and road races before also joining the Redbird cross country and track team in her third year at ISU.
Prior to ISU, Kamin was a part of the Glenbrook North High School cross country team that qualified to the IHSA Finals for the first time in school history where she ran a season-best 18:06 for a 84th-place finish. She also played midfield and forward on her high school soccer team.
She then joined the Redbirds in fall 2011, to contribute to the 2012 cross country Missouri Valley Conference championship team. With a leg in the indoor track and field distance medley Valley championship squad just months ago, it was her first ever season on a track team.
“It’s such a high energy perfect time to come into this program [after winning conference],” Kamin said. “As a freshman and as a walk on and just be able to face all the competition, it really has sparked my interest and I know this is what I want to be doing here.”
Before attending college Kamin knew that she wanted to participate in a sport. Picking the right place, though, was the hard part.
“I always loved running and I was always involved in sports in high school. I played soccer also, so I wanted to find if I was able to go somewhere I wanted to be able to pursue a sport,” she said. “And ISU offered the opportunity for me to prove myself.”
“I went ahead and contacted [cross country head] coach [Jeff] Bovee to begin with and he was one of the coaches who responded back and showed interest. And when I came here for a campus tour we set up a time with him to discuss things over last summer, and then I joined the team.”
Similarly, Brewer was a part of the Redbird cross country conference championship team, but only after taking a three-year break from participating in track, cross country, basketball, softball, and volleyball at Tuscola High School.
“I did cross country my sophomore year [of high school], and then I took a break from it. And when I came here [to ISU], I began running to clear my head from classes and things,” Brewer said. “I just really missed the team atmosphere, and I’ve always loved running, so I talked to Coach Bovee about it … I started to improve and he decided to let me walk on two weeks before school started.”
Thus far in the track season, Brewer has been able to earn a time of 17:14.37 in the 5,000-meter run at the MVC Indoor Championships for a fifth-place finish, before struggling with a nagging injury after the Redbirds’ home meet on April 7.
“This has been such an exciting experience,” Brewer said. “Especially winning conference [in cross country] … to come in my first year and be able to be a part of something so amazing, I feel so blessed to be a apart of it.”