When Florida senior Laila Foster arrived at Kentucky State, she had three distinct goals in mind: to set records, qualify for outdoor nationals and win. And now that she’s qualified for the Indoor Track and Field Nationals, she’s almost there.
“I don’t know how it feels. My emotions are everywhere,” Foster said. “I don’t think it has hit me yet. I know I am just looking forward to competing while meeting new people.” Foster, who is a psychology major with a minor in criminal justice, was born in Lorain, Ohio, but calls Apopka, Florida, home.
She and her coach, former Olympian Torri Edwards will travel to Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, where Foster will compete in the 60-meter dash. The competition will take place March 10-12. A total of 540 participants, 270 men and 270 women, will compete in the championships. Student-athletes qualified for the championships by reaching the automatic and provisional standards established for each event.
“It’s a really big accomplishment,” Edwards said. “She came in mainly as a jumper, but we put her in the 60 meter and she qualified for national in her first race. We were actually looking for her to get there in the triple jump.” Foster was the state champion in Florida 4A in 2012 in the triple jump but transitioned into sprinter while at KSU.
Foster said she has been running track since she was 4 and began competing when she was 11. What keeps her motivated is “knowing that I can set one record and break that and keep exceeding to do more,” she said. Foster also tries to keep good company to help challenge herself.
“My best friends are Marvin Bracy who runs pro for Adidas; Alysha Newman, University of Miami pole vaulter who just hit an Olympic standard; and Vanessa Clerveaux, Alabama hurdler/sprinter who just won SEC conference in the 60-meter hurdles,” she said. “They inspire me to do better every day and be just like them.”