Edwards Earns All-America Status for the 3rd Time
Mar 28, 2019 06:00AM
By Pamela Johnson
written by KEN HAMWEY, Bulletin Sports Editor
Sarah Edwards’ sixth-place finish in the mile at the NCAA Track & Field Indoor Championships at Birmingham, AL, on March 9, was good enough to earn the former Bellingham High all-star runner her third All-America trophy.
The 5-foot-5, 120-pound Edwards, who’s now a junior at Virginia Tech, previously captured All-America honors as a freshman in the steeplechase and as a sophomore in the distance medley relay. To achieve All-America status, Edwards had to finish 1-8 in the mile. Her time for the event was 4:38.68.
Edwards had mixed feelings about her finish. “I was upset with the result,” she said. “I went to the meet to win, but circumstances caused some frustration. I led for the first six laps. I thought there were only two more laps, but a sign indicated three more laps were left. So, I let four other runners make their move, figuring I had time to counter their efforts. As it turned out, there were only two laps left. I had to change tactics and it was difficult to recover.”
The Bellingham native did, nevertheless, experience some joy. “At the end of the day, I knew I had achieved something,” Edwards said, “and it was rewarding to receive another All-America trophy.”
“Qualifying for the NCAA meet is a challenge,” Edwards noted. “I had to compile times for the mile that were in the top 16 nationally for the whole season. It takes a strong work ethic and intense training to produce those results.”
During her three years at Virginia Tech, Edwards has won her share of races in the mile, the distance medley relay and the steeplechase. Although she finished her final indoor meet this year by garnering All-America status again, she points to the Atlantic Coast Conference Meet on Feb. 21 as her top winter highlight.
“I ran the mile and won it, and I was part of the distance medley relay team that finished first,” Edwards said. “The meet was at Virginia Tech (Blacksburg), and to win the mile in front of my friends and family was a thrill. That meet meant a lot because I made some history by becoming the first Virginia Tech female to win the ACC mile.”
Edwards competed last fall for the Hokies’ cross-country team for the third year. During the indoor track season this year, she compiled a personal best in the mile, running the event in 4:33 at the JDL Fast Track Elite Mile in Winston-Salem, NC.
Edwards has had a plethora of triumphs since she accepted a scholarship to attend Virginia Tech, where she’s majoring in interior design and has a 3.58 GPA. One notable victory came in the summer of 2017 after her freshman year. She won a gold medal running the 3000-meter steeplechase in her first International competition—the Pan American Junior Track Championships in Trujillo, Peru. She led from start to finish.
“That event was special,” Edwards said. “It still rates very high. I was competing for Team USA, it was my first international race and I met some great people. I made a lot of new friends during that event.”
As the outdoor season quickly approaches, Edwards will turn her focus to the steeplechase. “I’ll do some shorter races to keep my speed sharp,” she noted, “but I’ll be primarily running the steeplechase. I hope to compete for more All-America honors.”
Don’t discount the possibility of the 20-year-old Edwards becoming an Olympian in 2020 and competing in Tokyo. It isn’t far-fetched.
“My junior year is almost over and I’ve got to decide whether I’ll keep running after my senior year,” she said. “Graduate school is a possibility, but as long as I’m running well and maintaining my health I’d love to compete at the Olympic Trials. It’s something I’ll definitely strive for and, yes, the Olympics are a dream.”
Edwards’ achievements in cross-country and track during her career at BHS were numerous and significant. She set 16 school records and four Tri Valley League records and owns two others at the state level. She also was selected six times as the TVL’s Most Valuable Player and is Bellingham’s first high school All-American, earning that honor as a senior when she finished fifth in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:07.82 at the New Balance National Scholastic Championships at the New York City Armory.