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The faith to break records: CJ Allen set a nation best time in his first meet back from injury

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The faith to break records: CJ Allen set a nation best time in his first meet back from injury

Junior hurdler CJ Allen jumps during his event at the Cougar Indoor on Feb. 6, 2015.

Junior hurdler CJ Allen jumps during his event at the Cougar Indoor on Feb. 6, 2015.

Junior hurdler CJ Allen jumps during his event at the Cougar Indoor on Feb. 6, 2015.

Junior hurdler CJ Allen jumps during his event at the Cougar Indoor on Feb. 6, 2015.

JAMIE JONES | Evergreen track and field reporter

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While many athletes step on the track for that top spot on the podium with a shining medal, WSU men’s track and field captain, CJ Allen reaches for what he believes is something higher. On Instagram, he calls himself the “misfit,” living in freedom under Jesus Christ.

“The biggest inspiration comes from my faith now,” said Allen, “I pray every day.”

After a heartbreaking injury last year, only a week and a half before the Pac-12 Championships last year, Allen turns to his faith for inspiration to continue his junior year as one of the best 400m hurdlers in the nation.

Last month, the Bremerton native blew the country away as he stepped on the track for the first time since his ankle fracture and finished with a personal record and national record time of 50.55 giving him first place at the Jim Bush Invitation in Los Angeles with only two practices prior to the meet.

“I wasn’t expecting to open as well as I did,” said Allen. “To maintain drive is a process and there’s highs and lows, but coming off my injury this year there’s been a lot more highs because I’m excited to be back.

Allen’s father, Jeff Allen, who was also his former middle school track coach, is equally excited about his son’s comeback. Early on in Allen’s career, Jeff and his wife wanted to make sure their children were able to experience everything and to get excited about sports.

“CJ has drive and desire, he can be sick and still give 100 percent,” said Jeff. “He has a mindset that is top of the ranks.”

Even though Allen had the privilege of having Jeff as a coach and a father who spent a lot of time tracking Allen’s progress on the track, Jeff was a big supporter of Allen off the track as well.

“CJ set high goals on and off the field,” said Jeff. “Every day he does amazing things, he finally got accepted into his major and now he can have fun with less stress.”

Allen graduated from North Mason High School, where he began to flourish as a student-athlete. Jeff Bevers, North Mason’s track and field coach, remembers Allen as a driven athlete motivated by his faith.

“Besides his physical qualities, he ran for a different purpose, said Bevers. “He was running for something bigger than a win.”

As an athlete, Bevers noticed Allen’s gift on the first day of practice.

“When he was a freshman in drills, he talked a lot of good smack,” said Bevers. “I don’t know what it is about this kid, but he’s a state champion.”

Allen was a multisport athlete, earning nine letters at North Mason High school, including two in football for coach Bevers. Allen also earned letters in basketball and cross-country.

Allen will compete in the hurdles again in Tempe, Arizona at the Sun Angel Classic on Friday.

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The faith to break records: CJ Allen set a nation best time in his first meet back from injury