Ashleigh Anderson has been playing basketball since she was five years old. Though she did not join track until her sophomore year in high school, she now holds the title of being a two sport collegiate athlete.
Anderson started as a shooting guard for her high school’s women’s basketball team, averaging 7.7 points and 5.7 rebounds a game, helping to lead the team to an overall 27-2 record. Now competing as a track athlete, she throws the javelin, discus, and shot put. Anderson had never thrown the shot put until her arrival at Vanguard University.
With one meet under her belt, Anderson has already broken a 17-year-old school record in the javelin.
Growing up in Oregon City, Oregon, Anderson had a considerable amount of family support in her athletic endeavors. “My family is great, very supportive in all my athletics,” Anderson said. “Basketball is definitely a family thing, while track is something I picked up later in high school. My aunt and dad are my rocks when it comes to basketball.” Her father used to play basketball and her aunt is a coach; there was no doubt growing up that she would play basketball.
Her passion for track came later. “My high school coach Kristin Mull got me into track. She was my PE teacher and she saw I had an arm while playing football and told me to just come out and try it. I fell in love with it ever since.”
Anderson transferred to Vanguard this year from Clackamos junior college in Oregon. “I knew I wanted to be a two-sport athlete,” Anderson said. However, most schools at the collegiate level do not allow for an athlete to participate in two different sports. “I waited for a school that was willing to let me do the two things that I love. Between Coach Davis and Wilkins they made it possible, and I came on my visit and it just felt right.”
“Vanguard is such a tight community where everyone wants to see everyone succeed. I’ve been blessed with amazing teammates and coaches in both sports, who make it so much fun,” said Anderson.
With a Business degree from Vanguard, Anderson says she would like to coach women’s basketball after she graduates. According to her, coaching would allow her to invest in young girl’s futures and give back to the community since basketball has given her so much. If coaching does not work out, she would like to work for Nike.
Anderson’s goal for this 2014 season is an ambitious one: “I want to score as many points as possible for my team at the GSAC meet. I would love to win all three of my events at the GSAC meet, and hopefully PR (Personal Record) in all my events before the season is over.”
When playing two sports at the college level, there are definitely pros and cons. “A huge challenge is coming into track season so late and not getting the entire year to practice like the people I compete against. On the other hand, I don’t get the off season training with my basketball team because I am in track season,” said Anderson.
Another downfall is that she never gets to reach her full potential in either of her sports. Competing year round without a break can really “take a toll on my body, and my old lady knees,” says Anderson. On the up side it allows “me not to get burnt out, because I get a break from both sports.”
With basketball season over, Anderson is able to put all her focus in track. She is looking to beat her personal record in all three events.