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WSU Athlete Perseveres Through Pandemic

PULLMAN, WASH -Running, this has been the been the center of Paul Ryan’s life for the past five years at Washington State University.

Paul is a top tier track athlete at WSU and he has put up some impressive times on the track in his years at the university.

This past year would have been Paul’s final year and he was ready to put out more of the same effort he had given in previous years, then the pandemic happened.

Paul was hard at work training for the 2020 season when he received the news that the track and field season had been canceled. Paul said, “I was training up in Flagstaff, Arizona at high altitude when I got the news through social media that the 2020 season was canceled…I was preparing all year for outdoor track.”

Even though the season was canceled Paul had to continue training. He struggled to find the motivation to train because there wasn’t anything to run for since track meets were getting canceled one after the other.

Later, in the summer of 2020, Paul suffered a leg injury. While the injury was unfortunate, he said the injury could not have come at a better time because there would be no season to miss out on.

The pandemic made a lot of what Paul was trying to accomplish very difficult. He fought hard to find the motivation and trained anywhere he could to maintain peak fitness and performance. This past year, however, Paul was presented with a new opportunity that helped him find the motivation he needed to run harder, better, and faster than he ever had before.

Paul is currently training for the Olympic trials and has been for the past year. He has a lot of work to do and is trying to get his mile time a few seconds lower so that he can get in and qualify.

The pandemic slowed the progress of this endeavor. Several meets that would help Paul get to the qualifiers were canceled due to health and safety regulations. But Paul and his fellow teammate, Colton Johnsen, have been able to run past the inconveniences and work to get what they want.

Colton said, “I’m trying to qualify for the Olympic trials and I feel Paul and I have pretty similar goals.” These similar goals have gotten them that much closer to making the trials.

Fortunately for Paul and Colton, WSU gave all athletes an extra year of eligibility, as many other universities have done. They plan on using this extra season to improve themselves and get their mile times lower so they can get into the Olympic trials.

Paul has had to overcome a lot to get where he is today. His perseverance has led him to a once in a lifetime opportunity. Paul says there is a lot of work left to be done in order to make it to that next level, but he is confident that if remains motivated and continues to train hard, nothing, not even a pandemic, will stop him from reaching those goals he has set out to accomplish.

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