Winners win — it is that simple. The great ones are not carried to the top, but scratch and claw their way up the steep and treacherous path. Sweat, tears and blood accompany the accolades they receive.
For the past four years, Weber State University has had one of those winners in its midst in the form of All-American Amber Henry Schultz. Damian Lillard’s legacy may have overshadowed her dominance, but Schultz also has the chance to do what many only dream of: become an Olympian.
Schultz came to WSU after winning 15 individual state titles in Wyoming, in distances ranging from the 400-meter dash to the 3,200-meter run. Entering her freshman year, she didn’t quite understand what college track and field was all about. But it only took a few meets before she realized she wanted to be on the top of the podium.
“I remember my freshman year, just seeing athletes on the podium,” Schultz said. “After that, I strived to be on the podium in every conference meet, and that eventually went on to the regional and national meets. Little by little, I understood the small things, which helped me achieve the bigger goals.”
Schultz had goals not only of being a better runner, but to succeed in the classroom as well. After being accepted to nursing school, she balanced running at a high level and excelling in the classroom. That balance led to her earning her degree along with Academic All-Conference and All-District recognition.
WSU cross-country coach Paul Pilkington said he believes Schultz will continue to get better, not only because she is new to the steeplechase but because she isn’t one to back down. Win or lose, Schultz is going to make things interesting and give herself a chance to win.
“She is driven with her ability to go ahead and get things done,” Pilkington said. “She is stubborn (athletically); she will battle in races, which makes her a great competitor. She doesn’t like to lose, which is good in a race. She is always going to battle.”
That sort of battle will be needed as Schultz continues her journey to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She will run her first race of the year Friday at the Mt. SAC Relays.
“To get the Olympic Standard in the steeplechase, hopefully that happens this Friday,” Schultz said. “I plan on making the World Championship team next year and the Olympics the year after. But I need to stay healthy and cherish the opportunity that I have been given.”