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Concord Student Claims Sixth All-American Honor at National Championships

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Concord University senior runner Shawnee Carnett claimed her sixth All American honor this past weekend. Although Carnett’s last steps in outdoor 800 meter came up a bit short of another national championship, her college track and field career makes her the most decorated athlete ever to hit the halls at Concord University, and Carnett defeated almost all of her competitors on someone else’s turf.

Concord University senior mid-distance runner Shawnee Carnett closes her collegiate career as just the 17th runner in NCAA Division II history to have won two 800-meter national championships. Carnett one of 12 800-meter competitors of all-time to have won national titles at both the indoor and outdoor national championship meets.

According to a release Carnett began near the back of the nine-woman field for the two lap  800-meter run at the 2014 NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships in Michiganan. As the race neared its second lap Carnett navigated her way towards the front of the pack, but was unable to pull out a win. She finished in second place. Still, Carnett says she has no regrets. 

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Shawnee Carnett and Coach Mike Cox on the podium from 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships

“It’s just been an incredible journey these five years so,” Carnett said. “I’m excited to be done because you know it’s stressful you know you’re always expected to do well. I’m excited and sad and happy.”

Carnett gives a lot of credit to head coach Michael Cox, who never let her quit.

“He made me into the runner that I am, a national champion,” she said. “The workouts are awesome and more importantly he believes in me which has been in the end is the biggest thing that’s made me who I am.”

Cox says Carnett kept a structured schedule and was a coach’s dream.

“We went through lots of ups and downs with everything but we just kept pushing,” Cox said, “kept believing. I knew she had in there I think she did too.”

“She just wants to win and she does everything the right way,” Cox said. “She tries everything to be right and she’s an unbelievably great athlete but just also just as equal if not better person.”

From the National Championships to regular season meets, Carnett has defeated her competitors on their own turf. Concord University has not had a home track meet since her freshman year, five years ago. The rubberized track is in desperate need of repair with large chunks of red rubber missing and easily flaking from the surface.

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Credit Jessica Lilly
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“It’s kind of sad you know because a lot of people have senior nights and stuff,” she said. “We don’t get to do anything like that.”

Running without the luxury of smooth rubberized track isn’t anything new. Carnett says the facilities at her Alma mater, Marion High School in Virginia, weren’t perfect.  

“No matter what you’re obstacles are as long as you work hard you can make it work,” Carnett said.

Under new leadership, interim President Dr. Kendra Boggess, began in the Fall to support projects to raise funds to resurface the track.

Although she might have taken her last steps competitively at Concord, Carnett says she’ll always be Mountain Lion. She hopes to keep running with talk of even Olympic dreams.


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