For Sam Houston State junior Lygia Foreman, the physical and emotional demands that come along with competing in track and field at the collegiate level can be wearing. It can be challenging, exasperating and gut-wrenching.
It can also be rewarding.
“I have thought about [quitting] but I always think about what my life would be like without it,” Foreman said. “It gets very tough at times, though. There are times where you want to break down, quit, cry, all of that but if you love it you’ll find a way to stick with it.”
Foreman, who hails from Fort Worth and is a product of Eastern Hills High School, found her way to Sam Houston likely via an equal amount of determination from her current head coach, David Self.
“I didn’t know anything about Sam Houston,” Foreman said. “Coach Self just kept calling me so I was like, ‘maybe I should just check it out’ and I came down with my aunt and my granny. We came down and it was a campus I was really drawn to.”
In turn, Self would land one of his first track and field athletes since moving up to take over the position of head coach for the Bearkats. Despite tremendous success in her first two seasons, Self believes this is just the beginning.
“Last year she really kind of figured out how good she really is,” Self said. “She’s been an emerging talent. The things that she can do as far as the range of competing says a lot. She brings some versatility to us. She was chasing the records of another very successful athlete here who I coached, Tiffany Singleton, who was the school record holder indoors and outdoors in the 400.”
Without realizing it, Foreman became the school’s record-holder in the 400 meter dash last February at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships finishing first in her race with a time of 54.73.
“They told me after my race that I had actually broken the school record,” Foreman said. “It’s definitely a great feeling just to know that you now hold the school record. In the beginning we set goals so it’s definitely like a big accomplishment to meet those goals. I was very excited when I found out.”
The training regimen for the 400 meter dash is unique in itself. According to Self, the two to three times a week spent preparing on the track for a meet is both repetitive and at times can seem like “running until you’re nauseous or dizzy.” That is where Foreman’s inner strength kicks in.
“It’s just something about competing that I love,” Foreman said. “That adrenalin just does something to me especially when I know what I’m competing for and who I’m doing it for. Just the fact that your team counts on you. It’s an individual sport but it’s also a team sport.”
Foreman has two full seasons left to make her impact on the Kats, although aspirations and love for competition may have something to say about continuing her career a little longer.
“When I was younger, I always dreamed of being in the Olympics,” Foreman said. “Now I’m kind of at that point where I don’t really care as much if I do it after college but if I’m blessed with the opportunity I’d definitely take it. Maybe [I’d work] at the professional level if I can. I wouldn’t just pass up the opportunity if it presented itself.”