By Doug Drowley
Special to The Seattle Times
Heiden’s Drive Puts Her on Precipice of History
Ellie Heiden will always remember the day – Saturday, April 19, 2014.
That was the date of the highly-regarded Pasco Invitational. On that day, Heiden won her third athlete of the meet title in three years. She won the 200 and 400 meters races.
But none of that is what made that early-season Saturday memorable for the Kamiakin senior. That Saturday, Heiden also did something she rarely does. She lost – the 100 meters to be exact.
“It was the first time she did the Open 100 at the Pasco Invite,” Kamiakin coach Cheryl Schauble said. “We don’t even start our speed work until after Spring Break. But she came to us and said she really wanted to try the 100 this year. We said okay.”
The lack of speed training hurt Heiden. While the race was close amongst the Top 4 finishers, she was not the winner on this day.
“She hated it,” Schauble said. “She hated that she lost.”
Heiden, though, simply has turned that rare failure into another challenge for her competitive spirit.
“I took so many lessons from that one race,” Heiden said. “At first, I thought ‘This is awful.’ I feel that expectation to win. But maybe I was starting to take that for granted.”
“That” would be the winning.
It’s something Heiden does not only with regularity. She’s almost mechanical about it.
Two weeks after Pasco, Kamiakin came across the mountains to run at the Lake Washington Invite. Heiden got beat one more time, this time in the 400 meters.
“She came back and ran a best time in the 200 (and won), right after losing in the 400,” Schauble said. “This is good for her. It’s what’s going to happen in college. And it could happen a lot.”
Heiden is aware of that possibility.
She’ll be a freshman again in the fall, attending the school that has been her first choice from the time she was little – Brigham Young University. Yet even getting her scholarship to run for the Cougars next year turned into a competitive event for Heiden.
“That’s actually a funny story,” Heiden said. “BYU, they are really reluctant to give out scholarships. So I was told, don’t straight out tell BYU you want to go there.
“It was so hard. Even when I was on the campus for my visit and having a great time, everybody was asking.”
But Heiden strategically kept her preference under wraps. Even when her new coach, BYU women’s coach Ed Eyestone, clearly asked her about her intentions she kept mum.
“He asked if there was one school, if that school offered a full scholarship, would I go there for sure,” Heiden said, laughing. “I told him there was, but that I didn’t think I should say which school it was. Really, I was always like BYU for sure.”
After the Cougars came through with the scholarship, Heiden went back to Eyestone and asked if he remembered asking her the question.
He did. And that’s when Heiden told him that BYU was that school.
If all goes as planned, Heiden will show up in Provo, Utah, to start her college career as the all-time winningest state girls track titlist in history.
In three weeks at Mount Tahoma High, Heiden will compete at the 3A state meet. She will enter that meet already with 10 total state titles, counting relay victories, over the last three seasons. Should she win four more – as she’s done each of the past two springs – Heiden will catch Blaine’s Cherish Morrison for the state record of 14 overall titles.
The Braves also will try to win their third consecutive team title.
“It’s crazy,” Heiden said. “But I can’t be super excited about 14 until I have 14. I think this year will be a lot harder. The competition is stupendous. There is a lot more going on. But I’m definitely in the right place to achieve it.”
Heiden credits her family for helping develop her competitive drive.
“All I’ll say, you don’t really want to be in our backyard when we’re having a big soccer game,” Heiden said. “We’ll all sing in a car, and the winner is whoever can sing the loudest.”
In everything, Heiden said, she is constantly setting personal goals. Her family keeps things balanced – school, track and personal.
“I’ve been so blessed that so many things have fallen into my life at the right time,” Heiden said.
Schauble is even clearer when it comes to her star.
“I would bet we won’t have another one like her in a very long time,” Schauble said. “I totally feel blessed. Somebody was nice enough to put her in our backyard and have her run at Kamiakin. This was just like a dream you hope you never wake up from. How lucky are we?”
Who’s going where?
BYU – Ellie Heiden, Kamiakin
Cal Poly – Devon Grove, Lake Washington
UCSD – Aubrey Ward-El, Skyview
Citadel – Elizabeth Webster, Bishop Blanchet
Connecticut College – Grace Sheeran, Bellevue
Gonzaga – Jack Pearce, Mountlake Terrace
Harvard – Floriane Kameni, Bellevue
Hawaii (Manoa) – Karen Bulger, Olympia
Kansas – Dorie Dalzell, Skyline; Olivia Vincent, Holy Names
Loyola Marymount – Chris Fredlund, Squalicum
Mississippi – Brooke Feldmeier, Tumwater
Montana – Jenna Dukovcic, Mark Morris
North Carolina – Logan Carroll, Gig Harbor
Notre Dame – Alex Daugherty, Skyline
Oklahoma – Hannah Cunliffe, Federal Way
Oregon State – Nicole Goecke, Prairie
Portland – Logan Orndorf, Cedarcrest
Princeton – Wolfgang Beck, Gig Harbor; Lane Russell, Tumwater
San Francisco – Quentin Purtzer, Bellarmine Prep
Seattle – Jason Cowan, Kennedy Catholic
Seattle Pacific – Sophie Carroll, Central Kitsap
Stanford – Isaiah Brandt-Sims, Wenatchee
Washington U. (St. Louis) – Audrey Western, University
Washington – Megan Beauchene, Kamiakin; Rose Christen, Central Kitsap; Hannah Derby, Bellarmine Prep; Lyndsay Leatherman, Arlington; Denham Patricelli, Tahoma
WSU – Jonathan Green, Ephrata; Zachary Smith, Olympic
Weber State – Emily Morgan, Columbia River
William & Mary – Jaren Sinsheimer, Bellarmine Prep
William Jewell – Elizabeth Stevenson, Port Angeles
Wisconsin – Joe Hardy, Seattle Prep; Kai Wilmot, North Central
Know an athlete committed to college for track and field? Email Doug Drowley at email@example.com.