Meeting the contenders: Tracey Stewart

For some athletes, the NCAA Championships are a chance to surpass themselves  — not just their competitors. Cal’s Tracey Stewart will be content to reach her full potential in the triple jump this week in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I want an All-American status, I want to (set a personal record),” said Stewart, a senior. “It’s bittersweet, but I’m ready to move on in life.”

After reaching the NCAA Regionals as a sophomore, Stewart had a lapse the following year — starting her training late in the season because of injuries and never finding  her rhythm.

“I just couldn’t get my mark on, I kept scratching either over or behind the board,” Stewart said.

Returning to NCAAs again in her final season is a victory in itself for her.

“I got a lot of injuries and I didn’t think I was going to make it through college,” said Stewart, who is a two-time Pac-10 runner-up in the triple jump. “I was really down on myself, but I was able to finish and be proud of where I’m at right now.”

Stewart is jumping the farthest she has in her life. She set her personal record at this season’s Big Meet with a mark of 43-9.75, which moved her into third on Cal’s all-time performer list.

She came in fifth place at the NCAA preliminaries, with Chantel Malone of Texas and Allison Wilder of UC Riverside coming in first and second, respectively. Stewart logged a 42-7 while Malone topped the board at 43-5. The NCAA Championships will also feature Stanford’s Whitney Liehr, who edged Stewart to win the conference’s triple jump crown in May.

Image source: Cal Media Relations