July 10, 2013
This feature appeared in the July 10 edition of the K-State Sports Extra.
By Mark Janssen
Commander Whitehead, Philipe, Dominic Ricardo and Thor are sure to be very, very proud of their ... ahhhhh ... mother with her most recent accomplishment.
Welllllll, sort of mother.
"They're my rats and I can't wait to get home to see them," Bettie Wade said on her way home from Des Moines, Iowa, and the USA Track and Field Championships last month. "I want to buy leashes for them so I can take them for a walk."
Yes, you read right.
Rats ... for a walk!
But more on that later.
The 26-year-old Wade, a volunteer track assistant at Kansas State, placed second at the USA Championships by scoring 6,018 points in the heptathlon to advance to the World Championships in Moscow, Russia, in mid-August.
"I'm thrilled," said Wade, who also qualified for the 2009 USA Team while attending the University of Michigan where she earned a degree in financial mathematics. "My training has been going phenomenally, but then I sprained my Achilles. I figure I was really only at 80 percent. Going into the high jump (second event of the heptathlon) I had no idea what was going to happen, but God was watching over me."
After a 13.75 run in the hurdles, Wade would clear 5-11 ¼ in the high jump and follow that up with a 44-3 ¼ shot put and 24.95 200 meters for a first-day score of 3,656.
The six-time NCAA All-American and five-time Big Ten champion for the Wolverines concluded the second day with a 19-10¾ long jump, 126-5 javelin and 2:17.68 800 for the 6,018 total, which was 125 points shy of her personal record of 6,143 set last year.
"The score is nothing spectacular, but I'm on the team. That's all that matters. I'm going to Moscow," said Wade.
Wade credits her success to a powerful heart to excel, and confidence that she will. She wears "heart" and "confident" wristbands when competing, but leaves little else to chance.
Earlier this spring she started a Gluten-free diet, which she says, "... has allowed me to have more energy for my training."
Plus, while missing her Oreo cookies, she laughs, "It's helped my abs. I look better."
In addition, there's a strong belief in God: "God has talented me in track and field so I can share the message of Jesus Christ. I get the opportunity to show people the gospel when I compete. I want people to know that whoever you are, and whatever your circumstances are, Christ wants to have an intimate personal relationship with you."
The Silver Medal performance at the USA Championships last month takes some of the sting away from placing fourth at last year's Olympic Trials.
"I missed the team by one spot, but I don't live in the past. I try to live in the moment," said Wade, who hopes to enter the full-time coaching arena when her competing days are over. "This is just the beginning of my new career. I'm with a terrific coach (Cliff Rovelto) who is just a blessing to me. He doesn't get overly excited, or extremely disappointed. He keeps my head on straight."
With that "head on straight" comment, there is no better time to revisit Commander Whitehead, Philipe, Dominic Ricardo and Thor ... her "seven-inch, plus their tails ... they're big guys" rats.
Laughing, she said, "I grew up with hamsters, but they lack in personality. Even though visitors are a little squeamish, rats have personalities and really show their love for you. I'm sure they'll miss me when I go to Russia."
KYNARD GETS BETTER AND BETTER: Former K-State high jumper Erik Kynard celebrated July 4 by bettering his own personal record while competing in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Kynard topped his former PR of 7-8¾ by clearing 7-9¼ to place second to Bohdan Bandarenko of Ukraine.
The jump ranks Kynard third in the world this year behind Bandarenko and Mautaz Essa Barshim of Qatar (7-10½).
The former Wildcat was also second to Bandarenko in Birmingham, England, last month with a 7-8 clearance.