William and Mary track and field athletes Brandon Heroux (Westfield, N.J.) and Elaina Balouris (Allison Park, Pa.) are in the final phases of preparing for the NCAA Championship finals this week, and have taken the time to put together a series of blogs for TribeAthletics.com. Both will compete for a national title on Thursday, June 7th, with Heroux aiming for the NCAA Championship in the javelin throw and Balouris running in the 10,000m.
Day 3: Thursday, June 7th (Competition Day)
Greetings Tribe fans!
We are sorry that we didn’t get a blog up yesterday. We were pretty busy competing throughout the day and thought that the competition might take precedence over our blog (this was mainly Elaina’s decision). This blog is going to be a little different than the prior ones, as both of us will give a recap of our individual event.
Ever since our last race, NCAA Southeast Regionals, in the fall during Cross Country, I have made it my goal to qualify for NCAAs in track in the spring. Accomplishing this goal has been incredibly rewarding, and I am very thankful that I have had the opportunity to run here in Des Moines. While the race didn’t play out ideally, as it went out extremely fast, it was a huge learning experience and a crucial step for the future. I’ve watched some of these girls run this past year, completely amazed by their speed, and last night, I had the opportunity to race against them. I’m looking forward to racing against them in Cross Country in the fall alongside my teammates! Thank you to my coaches, family, teammates, and friends for supporting me every lap of the way. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. And congratulations to Brandon as well!
Post race talk from coach. Very positive! 19th Place. 34:41
I had a lot of mixed emotions heading into my last collegiate meet ever for the Tribe. As many know, last year I suffered a season-ending elbow injury and missed the NCAA Championships. Having to watch that meet online was very tough to do, and I felt like I had a lot to prove to myself and everyone else at this year’s championships.
As for the competition, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to close out my W&M career and celebrate the one-year anniversary of my surgery. I placed 8th with a personal best of 73.55m (241-4 in English) and put together a series of four throws over 70m. The overall competition was also the best ever for the NCAA javelin, producing two Olympic B standards and the farthest throw ever for an 8th place finish by almost seven feet. It is great to be able to say that I was apart of it.
I truly feel blessed to have been able to compete for the Tribe over the past four years, and even more so to have been able to return from injury as quickly as I did to compete this year. For that, I’d like to thank all of my coaches, doctors, athletic trainers, family, and friends for all of their help and support! I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without all of you.
At this time, I’d also like to share this gem of a video that I captured in the car the night before the competition of Elaina singing Call me Maybe. Check it out! For those wondering, yes, she was using her water bottle as a microphone…
We just wanted to say thank you for reading our blog this week! We hope you found it humorous! Have a great summer and GO TRIBE.
Day 2 – Afternoon of Tuesday, June 5th & Wednesday, June 6th
Hello again Tribe family,
First off, we would like to thank all of our loyal readers for the overwhelming fan mail and support! It is greatly appreciated.
Yesterday afternoon, we went over to Drake Stadium to work out. Brandon got on the javelin runway and worked on his approach, while Elaina did some interval work on the track. It was great to be surrounded by such a strong field of competitors, and both of us are feeling calm and confident about tomorrow’s competition!
Elaina, being the friendly and personable young lady that she is, made friends with Lucy Van Dalen (pictured at right) from Stony Brook during her workout. We decided that it’d be in both of our best interests to let her tag along with us since she is a former NCAA Champion in the indoor mile this past winter.
Last night, we ventured out into Des Moines (Days MOIN-ies) to the Cheesecake Factory with the Stony Brook crew. Since we were a fairly large group, we had to split up into two tables; Brandon got stuck eating with the girls (lucky him). After dinner, Coach Steve Walsh, who had a long day out on the golf course playing in the Coaches Challenge with Coach Matt Gutridge, passed out cold in the hotel lobby. He may or may not have fallen asleep mid-conversation and was motionless for 30 minutes.
9:00 pm (left)
This morning after breakfast, Brandon, Elaina, and our adopted friend Lucy went out to the trails for a run with the coaches. We even managed to squeeze in some time at the local playground. The weather so far has been great, and today was no exception. Today marks the beginning of the NCAA Championships and we plan on heading over to the track tonight to watch some of the events.
For those that are interested, the meet will be live streamed online for free at ESPN3.com! Brandon will be throwing tomorrow around 4:15pm and Elaina will be running at 9:45 EST.
Brandon (@baheroux11) and Elaina (@embalouris)
Day 1: Monday, June 4th & Morning of June 5th
Hello Tribe fans,
Greetings from the Fairfield Inn in Des Moines (Duh-Moin), Iowa! After a long day of travel yesterday from Norfolk>Chicago>Iowa, we have finally settled in and are both very excited to be representing the Tribe at the NCAA Championships!
As you can see in the photograph on the right, we think it’s safe to say that we’ll be having a lot of down time this week.
Last night, we indulged in some of Des Moines' finest cuisine (the chain restaurant Bravo), where Coach Stimson’s humor and our clumsy waiter combined for an interesting meal to say the least. One of the most exciting moments of the night came when Coach Jill realized that Iowa bordered seven states!! She also made sure that everyone else sitting within a five-table radius was also made aware. As you can see, we are having a great time out here!
Since Elaina is the youngest one on the trip, she has been assigned as Coach Stimson’s personal assistant for the week. Her duties include pushing Coach around, opening all of the doors for Coach, shining the wheels on his wheel chair, and bringing him water upon request. As we were leaving Bravo, Elaina became distracted and lost control of the wheel chair as she was pushing Coach Stimson down the exit ramp. Fortunately, he didn't sustain any serious injuries; however, Elaina has since been fired.
This morning, we went on a shakeout run around the neighborhood after breakfast (yes, Brandon can run). For all of you serious runners out there we 'negative-split' the run. We will be heading over to the track this afternoon to begin preparing for Thursday’s competition, and will check back with all of you later!
Elaina and Brandon