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The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Speedy Meadey: Not Your Average Athlete

Laura Meade running on the track.
/Photo courtesy of Kayleigh Sturtevant
Laura Meade running on the track. /Photo courtesy of Kayleigh Sturtevant

Laura Meade’s academic accomplishments speak for themselves. 

She is currently a graduate student majoring in business management and recently graduated from Utica University with a bachelor’s degree in business management – all while maintaining a 3.0 GPA during undergraduate and earning U.S. Track & Field and Cross County Academic Honors. 

Aside from her academic accomplishments, Meade has been a star on the track. She does jumps, sprints , hurdles and multies. According to assistant track coach Sam Catterson, she is “the most versatile athlete of all time.”

“I mean, this girl runs everything from cross country races to the 100m hurdles, triple jump, and has even become an impressive competitor in throwing events. Yet she continues to show a constant desire to learn new things,” Catterson said.

Throughout her time at Utica University, “Speedy Meadey,” as some call her, has set several school records. She is a four-time Empire 8 champion in the triple jump, the heptathlon, the pentathlon, the 400 hurdles, and has achieved field athlete of the meet. She is currently preparing for her fifth season of track and field at Utica University.

“She has insane drive,” teammate Justin Valentin said. “Laura never stops proving that there is nothing that she can’t do.”

Meade suffers from patella tendinitis after tearing the tendon during the previous season’s regionals. She will only be participating in outdoor track this season for the first time in order to rehabilitate her knee in time for the outdoor season. Meade said she is dissatisfied with her decision to sit out the indoor season and how this injury is seriously impacting her training.

Her greatest concern is the possibility that she won’t be able to jump in her final season, as triple jump is her favorite event. Because she isn’t able to train how she would like to, she fears that this injury will have a greater effect on her performance.

“Though I’m very sad that I won’t be able to compete with my team indoor this season, long term, I believe it will be best to give myself a little more time to recover from my injuries so I can perform to the best of my ability outdoors,” Meade said. 

She had a spectacular Spring 2023 season. She not only placed third in her first-ever javelin throw at the Utica invitational last outdoor season, but she also ranked sixth all-time in program history with a throw of 29.94 meters.

 In the heptathlon, she additionally established a new program record, finishing fifth out of sixteen competitors with a personal best 4,027 points. She ran the fastest 200-meter time in the field over the course of two days, earning one of the competition’s highest single-event point totals. In addition to being a personal best, she finished the 200 meters in the third-fastest time in school history.

“Her commitment and love for her sport is on another level,” Claudia Simione said. “She puts in countless hours on the track and is always trying to improve. She strives to be the best at everything she competes in and isn’t satisfied until she’s done so. Overall Laura is a talented athlete on and off the track, and you can always count on her to show up.”

Meade said being an athlete is one of the best experiences she has had at Utica University and has introduced her to many of her closest and best friends. She expressed love for her coaches and their positive influence on her and her teammates. She said they push her to reach her greatest potential and inspire her to be the best she can be. 

Her passion for running dates back to her kindergarten years, she also recalls beginning to compete in 5k races in the third grade. She ran both track and field and cross country throughout high school. 

“When I was in kindergarten I would wake up every morning and go for a run before school while my dad would follow behind me in his car until I was done.” Meade said. 

Without hesitation, she said her father is her greatest supporter and inspiration. Since he was also a passionate track and field athlete, they shared an intense love for running. He never missed a meet. 

In 2021, during her senior year, Meade’sfather passed away and it had a profound impact on her.

“After he passed I knew I had to continue to make him proud, so I went on to set four school records,” Meade said. “My dad will always be my biggest source of motivation and I will never stop pushing myself to make him proud. Everything I’ve done, ive done for him.” 

Aside from her love for track, Meade was also a softball player through high school and said it offered her a new sense of confidence and mental toughness. 

“​​I kept looking for ways to stay in touch with (my dad) after he passed away, and the one thing I knew I could do was do all in my power to maintain my love of running and compete at the collegiate level,” she said. “I realized it would be challenging to play two sports in college. I just knew that my love for softball took a backseat, despite the fact that I adore the game.”

Aside from all the accomplishments she’s made in the sport, Meade is incredibly grateful for the lifelong friendships that Utica Track and Field has helped her form and she considers that her greatest accomplishment at Utica. 

“Speedy Meade dominates at everything she does,” alumnus Sophie Henderson said. “I watched Laura have one of her best seasons my last year at Utica and it was so amazing to watch and train alongside her. She was the best teammate I’ve ever had, she was supportive, encouraging and always loved having fun.”

Along with her family, Meade owes her success to her team, coaches and friends that she has made through track. She expressed her gratitude for the coaches that have pushed her along the way. She said her coaches saw potential in her that she didn’t, and gave her the courage to try new things. Meade claims that her teammate who supports her the most is thrower Justin Swavley. 

“She brings the different event groups together and at meets she can always be found cheering everyone on,” Swavely said. “ Laura is one of the hardest working athletes I’ve met and she shows it by holding multiple records in multiple events. That’s not easy to do.”

Excelling in the classroom is a top priority while managing to make time for a personal life with family and friends. She intends to finish her final season at Utica University with a bang. She has set her sights on setting a new personal best in the vault once more, and based on the achievements she already performed, there isn’t much that can stand in her way.

“I hate losing more than I love winning, It’s a unique feeling,” Meade said. “But then again, without the help and support of my teammates and coaching, it’s impossible to succeed.”

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    Steve KicinskiFeb 23, 2024 at 1:35 pm

    Great athlete and a great person!