It was frustrating enough that she couldn’t throw her beloved javelin while recovering from major elbow surgery.
But what really got to Brittany Aanstad was that she wasn’t allowed to do anything else athletically, either. No running, no jumping – nothing.
So the Seattle Pacific track and field standout – a junior in the classroom, but just a sophomore sportswise – was equal parts eager and anxious to slip into her uniform and lace up her shoes for the start of the indoor season earlier this month.
“I’ve really built up the anticipation to compete, and I want to enjoy it while I do compete” said Aanstad, a 2007 Lake Stevens High School grad. “It has been over a year and a half since I competed. It was the hardest thing last year coming out to practice and running all these hard workouts.”
“It was like, ‘When am I going to see the results?’”
She saw some on Jan. 16 at the UW Indoor Preview, placing ninth in the high jump and 19th in the long jump.
And for the most part, she liked what she saw.
“I felt a little bit rusty, honestly,” said Aanstad, who cleared 5 feet, 4 inches in the high and flew 16-9 in the long.
At the UW Invitational on Jan. 29, Aanstad clearly was a lot closer to feeling “quite right.” Competing in the pentathlon – 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800 meters – Aanstad scored 3,307 points, enough to make her a provisional qualifier for the NCAA Division II indoor championships. It was a career-high total, and placed her eighth among the 23 competitors.
Aanstad also earned a provisional qualifying mark in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 5 inches.
Aanstad’s friends and teammates from high school might be surprised – even a little stunned – that she’ll be in the 60 hurdles and the 800 on Friday. That was unheard of during her days at Lake Stevens.
“In high school, there wasn’t one time I ever set foot on the track – not until my first meet in college,” Aanstad said. “Running wasn’t in my vocabulary.”
Suffice to say that Aanstad played to her strengths in high school. She won the Class 4A state javelin title as a junior and senior, and was second in the high jump as a senior.
Taking her talent from Lake Stevens south to the Lake Washington Ship Canal, Aanstad won the 2008 Great Northwest Athletic Conference javelin title with a toss of 147 feet, 10 inches. That was just five inches shy of her best mark of 148-3, which she established a month earlier at a meet in Bellingham.
“She’s a talented athlete in many events, and I think she looks to have a good future in the jumping events,” SPU coach Kari Lerum said.
“She’s so eager to learn, and she’s extremely coachable. She’s an exciting person for me to work with because she can transfer (coaching) cues into physical acts.”
“I’ve always had a passion for track and field,” she said. “The anticipation is just sky-high.”
And Brittany Aanstad is starting to see some results.