With roots in California and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Shawna Fermin is far from home in Pullman. However, with continued support of her family and coaches, Fermin has sprinted her way into WSU’s record books.
The junior sprinter recorded the ninth fastest women’s 200 meter dash in WSU history in front of a crowd of family at last weekend’s meet in Walnut, Calif.
“This season I just feel so strong,” Fermin said. “It just felt so easy for me. It felt like a walk in the park for me. I think that just shows how much stronger I am this year.”
The record time comes on the heels of her performance last year where she recorded the second fastest 400 meter dash in WSU history.
“I think making in the world record book at WSU is pretty cool. Hopefully I can be number one in the 400 by the time I leave,” she said.
What made last Friday’s performance especially spectacular was the fact that Fermin recently took up the 200-meter dash to hone her sprinting skills for the 400-meter dash.
“The 200 is just kind of a race that I just started doing this year so I could improve my 400,” she said.
Assistant Coach Ellannee Richardson said Fermin has grown as an athlete during the past year, becoming an all-around sprinter more than just a specialty runner.
“Shawna’s speed has improved drastically over the past year,” Richardson said. “This speed development is making her a much more versatile athlete. In the past we looked at her as just a 400-meter runner, but she has developed into a true sprinter with range from 400 meter all the way to the 100 meter.”
After battling injuries for much of her career at WSU, Fermin credits her recent success to health and newly acquired strength.
“When I first got injured it was pretty bad,” Fermin said. “I couldn’t go to class sometimes because I couldn’t get out of bed.”
Though she still has three herniated disks in her back, she has found success despite the nagging injury.
Despite injuries and adversity, Fermin runs for the pride of the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. In addition to running successfully for WSU, Fermin hopes to qualify for the national 4x4 team this summer.
“This is such a big year for me already because I’m doing trials for Trinidad and Tobago,” Fermin said. “I’m just trying to get my time down enough so I can possibly make the 4x4 team and hopefully go to London or Mexico over the summer.”
Fermin’s sense of national pride comes from her family’s long lineage in Trinidad. Her parents emigrated from the Caribbean island to California where Fermin was born. Having experienced both cultures, Fermin says she has the best of both worlds now.
Fermin says her parents have given her their full support as she attempts to represent her country this summer.
“My dad, he came to America with nothing. He just wants to give me everything he didn’t have,” Fermin said. “I want to be successful so it’s not as much pressure. They just want to give me the best opportunities I can have.”
Those opportunities now seem endless to Fermin, who still has a year to write her name into WSU track and field record books. As for the future, Fermin will just take whatever comes her way.
“There are a lot of doors open (to me),” Fermin said. “I just have to pick one.”