Freshman Friday - Gabby Lavington and Shaelyn Ward

It is not unusual for high schoolers to play multiple sports. Kansas State Track and Field freshmen, Gabby Lavington and Shaelyn Ward, both played basketball as well competed in track and field. The two share something else: each of them won an individual State Championship. Shaelyn, from Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and Gabrielle from Salina, Kansas, are now preparing to compete at Division I level while preparing in three throwing events: shot put, hammer throw and discus.

Why did you choose K-State?
Gabby: “Mostly because of the coaching staff. Coach Watson is a great coach. He is very good with working through different things and very understanding.”

Shaelyn: “When I came to K-State for my visit, I liked the people, the family atmosphere and the coaching program. K-State is not far away from home. It is really different here compared to other schools that I went on a visit to. When you go on your visits you can really see the difference.”

When did you start throwing?
Gabby: “I started throwing as a sophomore in high school. During my freshman year I was a sprinter. Then, during my sophomore year, I transformed to throwing. I also did basketball and volleyball for couple of years. After I went to the State Championship and performed well, I decided to focus only on throwing.”

Shaelyn: “In high school I did track and field together with basketball. I liked basketball but I knew I could do better in track and compete in Division I.”

What do you like the most about K-State?
Gabby: “I like how friendly and open people are. I do not know very many people here yet, but even if I meet strangers they are so nice.”

Shaelyn: “I like the team, the school and I think it is really pretty here. I like training. It is different than high school. I never just threw and lifted before. I have always done other stuff like basketball, but it is fun.”

Who is favorite teammate?
Gabby: “All of the upperclassmen are really nice. Shaelyn is pretty cool. Dani Winters is awesome. I know she is a post-collegiate, but she is great.”

Shaelyn: I would say my roommate, Wurrie Najadoe. We get along pretty well.”

What is your favorite throwing event?
Gabby: “Shot put is what I got recruited for. It would be nice to stick with that. Throwing the hammer would be really fun too.”

Shaelyn: I like shot put, but I am not really built like a shot put thrower. I also really love discus. Hammer throw is my new event but I really enjoy throwing it. I am getting better in both of them, hammer and discus, and it is nice to see actual improvement.” 

What is your major?
Gabby: “Accounting. I like math, numbers and organizing everything. My brother is graduating in December, so he is going to be an accountant too. It is in our blood, I guess.”

Shaelyn: “I would like to do a dual degree in Nutrition and Kinesiology. I am pre-med right now, but in the future I would like to be an orthopedic surgeon. I really like the health field and helping people.”

What are your collegiate goals?
Gabby: “Academically, I am going to get my Bachelor’s in accounting and hopefully my Master’s in accounting as well. Track and field wise, I want to see how well I can do and how Coach Watson can help me out and push me to be the best I could be.”

Shaelyn: “The competition in Division I is not easy, especially as a freshman and that we are in the Big 12 Conference. I would like to improve in hammer throw and discus and to score at the Conference meet.”

The track and field team opens the 2016-17 season on December 9 as the Wildcats host the Carol Robinson Winter Pentathlon, followed by the K-State Winter Invitational on December 10. Both meets will be held in Ahearn Field House.