Cougars come home for indoor meet

The Washington State track and field teams are off and running in 2014 and looking to turn in another productive season.

This weekend the Cougar track team will return to Pullman to host the Cougar Indoor meet today and tomorrow.

Sophomore Dominique Keel is one WSU sprinter who is especially eager to build off of a spectacular freshman season.

Last weekend at Jacksons Invite in Boise, Keel was the top Cougar woman in the 200 meter with a time of 24.63 seconds. She finished third.

However, after setting a school freshman record in the third leg of the indoor 4×400-meter relay and finishing 11th in the 100 meter at the Pac-12 Championships last year, Keel said that the best is yet to come.

“I haven’t done anything spectacular to boast about yet,” Keel said. “I’m hoping for that to come this year.”

Ellannee Richardson, WSU sprinting coach, said Keel is extremely coachable and her attitude and work ethic make her a tough competitor on the track.

“She’s not afraid of hard work, and she understands what it takes to be successful at this level,” Richardson said.

Keel said her goals this year are to finish individually in the top five of the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints and go to nationals in all her events. She also wants her relay team to place in the top five at the Pac-12 Championships.

She said one thing she did in the offseason to help obtain these goals was improving her strength. Her weightlifting maxes are three times what they were a season ago.

Richardson said Keel’s improved strength is the key to achieving faster times on the track.

While she gives equal effort to all her events, Keel said her favorite is the 200 meter.

“I love coming off the curve and having the feeling of being slingshotted into the home stretch,” Keel said.

She also said her hometown of Beaverton, Ore., is a huge track town, and the energy of the crowd would fuel her through the final leg of the sprint.

Keel has two brothers who both participated in collegiate sports, and she said they are a big reason why she wanted to run track in college. 

“It just looked cool, although I didn’t really know all that went into it,” Keel said. “I knew I wanted to do what my brothers did.”

Richardson said she is confident that Keel will turn in another impressive season after opening well in Boise last weekend.

“She has her mind set on big performances within the conference this year, and I am confident that she will reach her goals,” Richardson said. “I have learned over this past year that she can and she will accomplish anything she sets her mind to.”