Brittany Aanstad's 2012 NCAA title in the javelin is SPU's !rst national title in any sport since 2010.
A deal's a deal — and by the time she was done, Brittany Aanstad '12 had more than fulfilled her end of the bargain.
On a windy Memorial Day Saturday in Pueblo, Colorado, Aanstad threw the javelin 168 feet, 1 inch, to cap her Seattle Pacific University career with the NCAA Division II championship.
“I'm as excited as heck — it was a long time coming,” Aanstad says. “I knew if I wanted to do a good job, I had to be a good competitor.”
Aanstad's toss was a personal best by over 6 feet. It broke the 25-year-old school record of 167 feet, 2 inches, and broke the 1-year-old Great Northwest Athletic Conference record of 163 feet,
6 inches. She earned a share of the SPU Ron Grady Athlete of the Year Award and the GNAC Female Track Athlete of the Year honor.
But eight years ago, as a freshman at Lake Stevens High School about an hour north of Seattle,
Aanstad and the javelin weren't exactly buddy-buddy.
“It's funny, because when I was a freshman and sophomore in high school, I probably quit (the javelin) more than once,” the 23-year-old Aanstad says. “But my high school coach saw the potential and made me sign this contract. It said if I wasn't a state champion as a junior, I could quit it.”
Sure enough, at the 2006 Class 4A Washington state meet, Aanstad flung the javelin 141 feet, 4
inches to claim the crown. She won the event again as a senior in 2007 with a toss of 139 feet, 11 inches.
That she ultimately accomplished all that she did at Seattle Pacific doesn't surprise Lake Stevens
head coach Jeff Page, who still has that contract in a folder in his office.
“I remember that all she wanted to do was the high jump — that was her event,” he says. “She was in my classroom one day, and I told her, ‘I'll bet you by the time you're done with high school, it'll be your best event,' and she said, ‘No way.' So I said, ‘Let's put it in writing.'”
At SPU, Aanstad picked up with the Falcons right where she left off at Lake Stevens.
As a freshman in 2008, she won the GNAC championship at 147 feet, 10 inches. At that meet,
Aanstad injured her elbow. She had qualified for nationals and had every intention of competing.
But the meet doctor and Falcon head coach Karl Lerum ultimately said no.
“It was definitely a hard thing to deal with,” Aanstad says.
She wound up having elbow surgery.
“It was hard not to compete,” she remembers. “But I think that year I took off made all the
Following a medical redshirt in 2009, Aanstad was back at it in 2010. A personal record of 149
feet, 10 inches earned her second place at conference, followed by an All-American fourth at the
NCAA national championships.
In 2011, as a junior, in spite of a back injury, Aanstad finished second in the nation. Ultimately, she
made it all the way to the top.
Coach Lerum couldn't be more pleased: “I'm just so happy for Brittany, with the amount of work she has put in the last five years, the injuries she has overcome, and the lasting mark she has left on our program.”