Every day is a different event

Wildcat track and field star Megan Svitak finds enjoyment in competing in multiple events


Photo courtesy of Marlon Brink

Megan Svitak competes in hurdles during the track and field season.

Caitlin Fehringer, Staff Writer

Megan Svitak is a track athlete from Howells who graduated from Howells High School in 2011.

While in high school, she competed in the 100 meter and 300 meter hurdles, high jump and the 4×400 meter relay.

“Being from a small Class D2 high school, I always wanted to run college track, but never thought I would actually get the chance to,” Svitak said. “I was so happy when I signed my letter of intent the summer after I graduated.”

Svitak originally thought she was going to only compete in the 60 and 100 meter hurdles and high jump until Wayne State track and field coach Marlon Brink had mentioned the “multi,” or multiple events.

Svitak already had the two hardest events (hurdles and high jump) mastered.

Learning the other five events was easier to do.

“I didn’t really realize at the time how much hard work and time it would be to train for seven events,” Svitak said.

Indoors, the girls compete in the pentathlon.

A pentathlon is five events in one day.

They get 30 minutes from the end of one event to the start of the next one. The pentathlon consists of the 60 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and the 800 meter run.

Outdoors, however, the girls compete in the heptathlon.

This consists of the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and the 200 meter dash on the first day. On the second day, they continue competition with the long jump, javelin throw and the 800 meter run.

Svitak’s favorite event is definitely the 100 meter hurdles.

The 60 hurdles are okay, but she really needs the extra five hurdles so she can get to her top speed.

A tossup between high jump and long jump is her next favorite event.

“With having to learn and practice so many different events, it does take a lot of time,” Svitak said.

For indoor season, Svitak is able to combine some practices together, which is really nice, not only on her as an athlete, but on her coach as well.

Depending on what she is doing that day, practice can last anywhere from one to two hours. Her longest practice is usually on hurdle days, just because the warm up takes so long.

For outdoors, she spends more time practicing, since javelin is added into the mix of events.

Training for the 200 and the 800 just kind of gets tacked on to the end of her workouts as a bit of extra running.

“I am a senior here and have been competing in the multis from the beginning,” Svitak said. “After my first ever multi in Kearney, I was really unsure about what I was getting myself into.”

Svitak was a sprinter in high school, not a thrower or 800 meter runner.

Shot put eventually got better for her, but the biggest challenge up until a few weekends ago had been the 800.

“I just could never figure out how to run it,” Svitak said. “Now after competing in it for the past 4 years I couldn’t imagine not doing it.

“Plus, it sounds really cool telling people that I compete in 5 to 7 different events in 1 or 2 days. It has become such a big part of my life that it will be so hard not competing next year.”

Over the years of being a multi, Svitak has had a few injuries.

Her freshmen year she pulled her groin at the beginning of outdoor season.

Sophomore and junior year, she pulled her quad during pre-season fall training and also got tendonitis in her throwing shoulder.

“All of these injuries set me back in my training but I thankfully never had to miss competing in any meets,” Svitak said. “So far this year I have only had some minor aches and pains. I am hoping and praying that it stays that way.”

Svitak is happy that she became a multi. Adding Derek Lahm to the multi family this year has been awesome for Svitak.

“It has been so much fun seeing him and Ellen Wolf grow throughout the season and do so well at the conference meet,” Svitak said. “I couldn’t ask for a better ending to our indoor multi season then coming home with 6th and 4th place finishes and 2 national provisional qualifying marks for Derek and I.”

Svitak wishes Wolf could have finished, because she worked so hard even with being injured.

She couldn’t imagine having any better teammates to have her senior year with.