When she was a junior at Othello High School, Christine Kirkwood got a lesson in resilience. She ran cross-country that year in light of her distaste for running.
“I don’t know why I did it,” Kirkwood said.
She contemplated giving up the sport mid-season, but says her parents taught her a very important lesson she carries with her to this day.
“Stick it out,” Krikwood said. “Stick it out.”
Now a promising freshman javelin-thrower at WSU, Kirkwood said that lesson is something she has used in life and athletics.
The 19-year-old freshman is now competing in her first collegiate track and field season and enters with a vast athletic repertoire. In high school, Kirkwood earned nine varsity letters in five different sports including basketball, volleyball, cross-country, soccer, and track and field.
Growing up in an athletic family and rooting for the Duke Blue Devils as a young girl, Kirkwood said basketball was her first and true passion. Though she still loves the game, she discovered a new love for javelin.
Kirkwood said at first she was apprehensive at the idea of javelin throwing, but her coach at the time pushed her to pursue it.
“My freshman year, I did track just because,” Kirkwood said. “I just kind of stuck with it, and fell in love with it too.”
Once more, Kirkwood’s patience and perseverance paid off as she went on to win the State 2A javelin title as a sophomore, junior and senior. Stick it out.
It took Kirkwood a semester at the Air Force Academy to realize her goals and priorities in life. Though she didn’t ‘stick it out’ at the Air Force Academy, she said the time away helped her realize the career path she truly desired.
“Career-wise, I want to teach and I want to coach more and after a life after the academy you’re serving in the military and so it’s not really the career pathway I want to take,” Kirkwood said.
The former valedictorian and 4.0 student decided she wants to pursue teaching and coaching instead of a military lifestyle. Above all, Kirkwood said her time away from family and friends made her stronger.
“My time at the academy was really rough being away from family and stuff. I had to really rely on faith to get through it, and I feel like I’m a lot stronger for it now because of it,” Kirkwood said. “I’m definitely reliant on my faith, it’s a big thing for me.”
Aside from faith, Kirkwood relies on her sister for support in her first year at WSU. Christine said she shares a healthy rivalry with her sister, a senior two-time All-American javelin thrower and captain of WSU’s women’s team.
“I think we push each other, definitely,” Kirkwood said. “But we’re each other’s number one fan. We want each other to do really well and I’m always out there cheering for her.”
Kirkwood will rely on her sister and her faith to propel her to goal of reaching nationals this year. Even if she doesn’t reach that goal immediately, you can be certain of one thing — she’s going to stick it out.