Card gains national championship in discus
In the blink of an eye, college is a distant memory, but the memories last a lifetime. For a former Macoupin County athlete, she has reached the pinnacle of her sport at the collegiate level.
The Macoupin County girl from the unincorporated community of Plainview has her national track and field championship.
Kelsey Card, 2011 graduate of Carlinville High School, wrapped up her collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin over the weekend at the NCAA Track and Field championships in Eugene, Ore. by winning the women’s discus championship and finishing fourth in the shot put.
Card’s electrifying personal best and Big 10 record throw of 208-feet-five inches defeated two-time defending champion Shelbie Vaughn of Texas A&M. It bettered her personal best throw at 204-feet-two inches, which was an NCAA best throw this year.
“It feels surreal,” Card said Tuesday morning, preparing to go back to work in preparing for the Olympic Trials. As of now, she plans to compete in both the discus and the shot put for the nationals.
The top five finishers all had personal best throws in the finals, with the top four all over 200 feet in distance.
Her throw of 208-feet-five inches is the seventh best all-time at the collegiate level and only 1-foot-7 inches away from the NCAA meet record.
She entered the finals prepared as she ever could be, and that produced some consistent throws with all throws over 208 feet.
“I’ve practiced the throws, felt good and was hoping that would pop up in the meet,” Card said. “It was exciting. I’m most proud that in the final all my throws were over 208 feet. The consistency was exciting.”
Card also earned first-team all-
American status in the shot put, placing fourth with a distance of 57-feet-11 inches.
“As a collegiate athlete, competing at the highest level at the NCAA realm, it’s really cool that you hold the championship,” Card said. “It was a really nice reassurance going into the finals busting out those throws. And going into the final throw, knowing nobody could beat you and seeing the coaches celebrating, it was fantastic.”
She leaves Wisconsin a seven-time first-team All-American, including three this past indoor and outdoor season and three from 2015 indoor and outdoor seasons.
She also holds the Big 10 record in the outdoor shot put and the discus, and was Big 10 Champion in both the shot put and weight throw the past two years.
She has been named Big 10 Indoor Field Athlete of the Year and the Big 10 Indoor Field Athlete of the championships for both 2015 and 2016.
In 2016, Card was named the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Indoor Field Athlete of the year, and was academic all-Big 10 in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
“It’s been a crazy, wonderful last five years,” Card said. “There have been ups and downs, but an amazing journey.”
The daughter of Tom and Andrea Card, she is a four-time IHSA Class 1A shot put and discus champion and broke the all-time IHSA indoor shot put and Illinois State meet outdoor records her senior year at Carlinville.
Next up for Card is qualifying for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August. The track and field national competition is scheduled for July 1-10 back in Eugene, Ore. The discus is July 1 and 2, while the shot put is July 7.
“I had yesterday off, but today I’m back at it and will train hard up until the Olympic trials,” Card said.