Tayler Godar had one specific goal for herself this season. The sophomore standout in track and field wanted to be the first Tiger to qualify for the NAIA National Track & Field meet since Britney Chesser and Luke Garnett did so in 2010.
Not all that shocking for the Georgetown College harrier, but she did so with a twist of surprise. The Cincinnati, Ohio native ran a 2:15.27 at the Toledo Invitational – a new school record and qualifying time in the 800-meter run – a race she did not even run or train for most of the season.
The meet begins May 22 in Gulf Shores, Ala. The trails are 2 pm Friday and the finals set for 4:50 pm Saturday.
"Tayler is one of our distance runners and really likes the 1,500 or 5k races," said GC coach Todd McDaniel. "We put her in the 800 for two meets and that's the result she put up. She's simply amazing."
"She is a phenomenal athlete and extremely focused. When she wants something not much will stand in her way."
This is the second national meet for the two-sport athlete this year. She started with a trip to the NAIA Cross Country National Championship back in the fall. Now she becomes just the first Tiger in a while to run in both. Chesser, another standout runner for Georgetown, was in the 2009 cross country meet and qualified for the 2010 track meet, but injury sidelined her.
"This is very unexpected," Godar said of qualifying in the 800. "I couldn't be more excited. I know next year there will be more of us here."
The Tiger program took huge steps forward across the board this past season. As a team, GC set 18 new school records. However, overall they set 30-plus as many of those 18 marks were set and reset throughout the season.
"I'm so excited about having someone back at track nationals," McDaniel said. "This shows all the hard work everyone is putting in is paying off and the track and field team is heading in the right direction."