Addison finds success on the track after a successful soccer career
Senior Kayla Addison made a career of running past defenders.
During her four years as a starting forward on the GVSU women’s soccer team, Addison contributed to an 84-3-13 record and helped to bring home two national championships. She finished her run with the Lakers fourth in career goals (58), fourth in career points (142), fourth in career game-winning goals (16) and eighth in assists (26). With little left to accomplish on the pitch, Addison had no choice but to take her running to the track.
“It was my first sport. I ran it for like 10 years and then I just stopped to do college soccer,” Addison said. “Then the opportunity came for me to do it again so I thought it’d be a good idea to get back into it.”
A graduate of Detroit Country Day High School, Addison hadn’t competed in track since high school.
“Soccer, my arms kind of flail everywhere and I’m tenser,” Addison said. “But here they want me to have my arms straight and more relaxed and not so tense.”
Competing in the 60-meter, 200-meter and the occasional 4×400, Addison has seen improvement in every meet. Last week in the GVSU Tune-up, her strides culminated in two event victories and two NCAA Division II provisional qualifying marks which will extend her season into the GLIAC championships to be held this Saturday and Sunday at the Kelly Family Sport Center.
Finishing third in the 60-meter dash prelims, Addison out-leaned talented sophomore teammates Michaela Lewis and Brittney Banister by a few thousandths of a second in the finals with a time of 7.73 seconds, a personal best. She followed up the winning performance with another personal best in the 200-meter dash, her preferred race, with a time of 25.09.
“There’s stuff that’s a little different from learning when I was younger,” Addison said. “Coach is actually a little surprised because it only took me like a month to actually look like a track runner and not like a soccer player anymore.”
Having some prior experience has certainly helped the transition, but as fast as Addison has been, she’s only just begun to realize her full potential as a track athlete.
“As far as just running, she has a great stride, great gait, good power – that’s been natural for her,” said GVSU head track and field coach Jerry Baltes. “She’s been away from the starting blocks for quite some time, so that’s something she’s getting better at every time she steps in them. That’s a huge deal in the 60 and the 100, so if she can keep fine-tuning that aspect, she’ll drop a lot of time over the next few weeks and months.”
For more than just her speed, Addison has been a welcome addition to the team that had an already deep female sprint squad.
“She was always one of the fastest girls on the soccer field and she’s definitely a good addition to the team,” said sprints, hurdles and relay coach Keith Roberts. “She works hard, she’s a great kid. She’s helping us now, but I think in the long run she’s really going to be a huge impact to the team’s success.”
With a year of school left to complete in the College of Education, Addison’s future as a student athlete after this year is unknown.
“She’s someone that I think has a huge upside,” Baltes said. “If she does stick with it over the course of the next year, in her fifth year of school, I think she could do some great things down the road for us.”