Nyjah in the fast lane

Eastern freshman breaks record at EIU Early Bird


Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

Two school records fell at last week’s EIU Early Bird event from freshman Nyjah Lane and junior Dhiaa Dean.

Lane broke the school record in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.53 seconds in her first collegiate track meet at the EIU Early Bird last Friday.

At Highland High School, Lane advanced to the IHSA class 3A state championships in four events her senior year. She competed in the 100-meter dash were she placed 8th and the 200-meter sprints. Lane was also apart of 4×100 and 4×200-meter relay race teams. She set school records in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes for her high school.

Lane runs the 60 and 200-meter races at Eastern and is ready to keep working hard after breaking a school record.

“My goals are to really do my best and to focus on my time and just focus on being better,” she said. “We do a lot of speed work so that helps and just a lot of practicing on blocks and continuous running.”

Lane started running track at a young age.

“When I was younger I realized I didn’t want to play basketball anymore and I was actually good at sprinting so I tried out for the track team when I was in the fifth grade,” she said. “I really didn’t start till my eighth grade year but I just really liked the adrenaline rush that I got when I was running.”

The Illinois High School State Championships at Eastern helped bring Lane to school as a student after high school.

“I came here for state meets multiple times and it always felt like home,” she said. “Before I came here I didn’t realize that Eastern was more than just track, so when I saw the other buildings it was a really pretty school and they had the major that I wanted to go in to. It pretty much just fit who I was.”

Dean broke the record in the 600-meter dash with a time of 1:32.94.

Dean competed in both indoor and outdoor track and field in both 2013 and 2014. In 2014, she competed in the 400-meter, 600-meter and 800-meter in the indoor season earning first team All-OVC in the 800-meter.

She was also named to the first team All-Ohio Valley Conference with the distance medley relay team. In high school, she placed third in the 800-meter dash at the Illinois state championship meet. She also reached the state championships with the 4×400-relay team as a high school senior.

Dean participates in the 400-meter, 800-meter and 4×400 relay for Eastern and is looking to improve even more after breaking a school record.

“For the 800, I want to get down to at least a 2:07 and in the 400 at least a 54,” she said.

Dean did extensive training in the off-season.

“During the off-season I did a lot of mileage and basically base training,” she said. “I did a lot of five to six mile runs everyday with people from my old school. I did a lot of weight lifting and just basic speed work.”

Dean also had a love for track at an early age.

“It started when I was in fourth grade and I decided to run with the big kids and it really excited me when I beat one the older girls in the 100 and it just progressed from there.”

Eastern being a smaller school made Dean feel more comfortable coming to school here.

“I decided to come to Eastern because I wanted to go to a smaller school, I was kind of intimidated by the bigger schools like U of I and SIUE and I liked the program here for KSS.”

Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]