Track & Field: Meyers medals in third at 2023 NJCAA Indoor Nationals

Former Rochelle student-athlete Teagan Meyers recently medaled in third place at the 2023 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field Nationals. Meyers set a new personal record in the high jump to earn her third-place finish. (Courtesy photo)

RTHS alum competing at Sauk Valley Community College

Former Lady Hub student-athlete Teagan Meyers felt that her track and field days were over. After a successful four-year career at Rochelle Township High School, where she reached the IHSA State Championship meet twice and earned All-Conference honors in the Interstate 8, Meyers was unsure about continuing her education after graduating from RTHS in 2022. 

Having mentally checked out of track and field, Meyers wasn’t planning on continuing with the sport until late in the summer, when she learned of an opportunity to attend Sauk Valley Community College and compete for the women’s track and field team. With a chance to revive her athletic career, Meyers ultimately chose to enroll at Sauk Valley and join the program.

“We didn’t know that Sauk Valley had a track and field program and when my mom found out, she contacted them toward the end of the summer,” Meyers said. “School wasn’t really on my  mind, but they offered me a scholarship for track and field and that’s what motivated me to continue competing and to pursue more education. It’s been a great experience so far and it’s broadened my horizons. I’m really grateful for the foundation that RTHS track and field brought.”

While Meyers was admittedly nervous about her early results competing at the collegiate level, the former RTHS track and field standout grew stronger and stronger as the indoor portion of her freshman season at Sauk Valley progressed. Meyers not only tied her personal high jump record of 1.60 meters (5 feet 3 inches) from high school, but she eclipsed that mark on three separate occasions including the 2023 NJCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championship. 

“The team has been really great and my coach knows a lot about track and field, so he’s helped me improve in each of my events,” Meyers said. “I wasn’t quite sure what my performances would look like compared to high school because I had sort of checked out of track and field. But it’s been really exciting and I’ve gained much more confidence because I didn’t think I would have the success I’ve had so far… It’s been a really exciting turn of events for me.”

Meyers competed in the high jump, triple jump and 200-meter dash during the indoor season, which concluded at the national championships at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Having qualified as the No. 8 seed in the high jump competition, Meyers achieved each of the three goals she set for herself during the meet. Not only did she clear the first bar, but she outperformed her seed and set a huge personal best, clearing 1.66 meters (5 feet 5 ¼ inches). 

“I went into the competition just happy to be there,” Meyers said. “I was happy being seeded in the middle because I didn’t feel stressed to perform a certain way. It was a new competitive environment, but I still felt sure of myself and I looked forward to seeing what I could do. I didn’t even know that I was in third until my coach told me and I was shocked because I thought there were still a lot of girls jumping. I was just focused on setting a PR and not placing at that time.”

The personal-record performance resulted in a third-place medal for Meyers, who earned four first-place finishes in the high jump during the indoor season. Her best jumps included 1.65 meters (5 feet 5 inches) at the SAU Tune Up on Feb. 10 and 1.63 meters (5 feet 4 ¼ inches) at the Sol Butler Classic on Feb. 17. Meyers also set a new personal record in the triple jump, leaping 10.30 meters (33 feet 9 ½ inches) to beat her best high school mark of 10.24 meters.

“I appreciated everything coach [Mark] Zilis did for me at RTHS,” Meyers said. “Having a new coach’s perspective at Sauk Valley has allowed me to fix things that I had become numb to. We’ve been able to dissect my technique and he’s given me a lot of different drills to work on. Qualifying for nationals was mind blowing because I only had a few meets left to do it. I was frustrated during my first few meets, but clearing the qualifying height was really exciting.”

Meyers is now preparing to begin her outdoor season, where she’ll aim to qualify for the 2023 NJCAA Outdoor Track & Field Nationals at New Mexico Junior College. Meyers, who’s currently studying for an associate’s degree in applied science and marketing in hopes of running her own business, said she’s currently taking her track and field career one season at a time.

“I’m not 100 percent sure how much farther I’d like to go in school, so I’m only looking toward next year right now,” Meyers said. “If a four-year university or college approached me, I might take the time to consider that, but my main focus right now is on this year and next year.”