Elizabeth Krug flashed the “I got this smile” to her teammates.
She cooly grabbed a spear and easily won the javelin at the Southern Athletic Association track and field meet at Hendrix and claimed a flight-to-finals victory in the javelin.
The Hendri senior slapped hands with Sarah Steadman, her freshman teammate.
“I haven’t had a whole lot of practice in this so it’s about as far as I could as I could do it today,” said Krug as she unlaced her javelin shoes for her track shoes.
Krug was one of the smallest participants in the javelin finals field. Don’t be deceived.
In seven events Saturday, capped by an amazing anchor leg of the 4x400 relay, Krug put on one of the greatest meet performances ever witnessed in Conway.
“She just has a lot of natural athletic ability,” said Patrick MacDonald, Hendrix’s track coach. “She’s just better and stronger than anyone in our league.”
The javelin is one of track’s trickier events. The participants are all shapes and sizes.
“It’s in the motion,” said Krug. “It’s like throwing a baseball although your arm goes higher.”
“It’s actually more comparable to throwing a football,” said MacDonald.”
So, on your coed intramural football team, pick Krug as your quarterback.
Pick her for any spot.
The defending NCAA Division III heptathlon champion is one of the best athletes in Hendrix history and probably one of best under-the-radar female athletes in state history.
“My high jump was awful today (she finished fourth), but I was running back and forth (between javelin and high jump) and I didn’t have a lot of warmup time,” she said. “But my high jumps have been good this year, just not so good today.”
“Usually, it helps her to bop from one event to another,” MacDonald said. “It takes away a lot of the tendency to overthink. Sghe’s one of those athletes who is at her best in multiple events.”
As the temperatures got warmer Saturday, Krug got stoked and found another gear.
At 2:10 p.m., she won the 400 hurdles. After a trip to the training table, she sprinted across the infield, signaling to the meet official to hold, and she made the starting blocks with barely a minute to spare. She finished second.
“I was trying to put up my hair when the official told me to get in the blocks, so I did and ran,” she said.
At 3:30 p.m., she pulled off the anchor 400 leg in the relay.
That’s three different, grueliing events in an hour.
“She’s just a monster,” said MacDonald. “It was really insane. Very few people on the planet could pull off what she did today. She’s just on another planet from anyone in our league.”
During a free moment, she also helped set up a couple of hurdles.
When she overtook the Birmingham-Southern runner to finish third in the 4x400 by 10 yards, her teammates met her at the finish line for a big group hug and dance.
“She was amazing on that anchor leg. Nothing was going to overcome her need to be in front of someone,” MacDonald said.
In the middle of the celebration, Lincoln picked her up and carried her in his arms, in triumphant, and a tub full of ice.
“This is heaven,” she said as she relaxed in the ice and cheered on the men’s relay team.
One chilly but divine ending to a day in which the Hendrix star — running, jumping, throwing and sprinting — was out of this world.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 501-505-1235 or email@example.com or follow him on twitter @dmaclcd)