Madeline Wilson‘s collegiate career on the Northern Arizona University track & field team started without any great fanfare.
The Flagstaff High School grad competed in the eight-team Friday Night Duals that opened the indoor season on Jan. 10, placing seventh in the women’s 60m high hurdles, eighth in the 200m dash, and 13th in the long jump.
A reasonable start to a new career, but nothing to indicate what was to come.
Just 22 days later the freshman secured a place in the program’s history books by breaking an NAU record that had stood for almost four decades.
Suddenly, everybody knows her name.
In just her third collegiate meet, the Flagstaff native broke the women’s indoor pentathlon record in the first two-day meet on the schedule, the weekend’s Mountain T’s Invitational at the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff.
On the opening day, Wilson piled up 3,487 points in the pentathlon, breaking the previous record of 3,366 points, set in 1982 by Monique Donithan. That record had been the longest-standing school indoor record by either a male or female athlete.
Wilson finished fourth in the pentathlon, setting a collegiate best of 1.64 meters in the high jump and also posting personal bests in both the shot put (9.59m( and long jump (5.33m).
As the day’s events began wrapping up, Wilson knew she was approaching something big and couldn’t afford to let down. “I was nervous leading up to the long jump and 800 because I knew that had a lot to do with the points that I could get,” she explained. “I knew I could do it because my coach kept reiterating it to me.”
When it was all over, her accomplishment finally sank in. “It’s crazy that I’m compared to people who are legendary,” she gushed.
Since Wilson is just beginning her college career, her assistant coach, Matthew Harmeyer, expects big things to come for the youngster. “She really had a good day in the high jump, a good day in the shot put, and a good day in the long jump,” he said following the meet.
“The pieces came together, and I can only imagine that (pentathlon) record will be broken more times.”
(Photo: NAU Athletics)