Saffa has strong start to season

Parker Valentine, Track and field Reporter

Junior sprinter Anita Saffa is off to a fast start to open the 2016 season for the Eastern women’s track team.

In the Early Bird 60-meter prelim Friday, Saffa beat her best time of the 2016 indoor season (7.58), with a speed of 7.57. Saffa then went on to win the final in that same event with a time of 7.61, defeating Eastern teammate Nyjah Lane by .05 seconds.

Saffa opened up the meet and helped push the Panthers to a third-place finish for their first meet of the season.

“Running faster times motivates me, taking advantage of being a Division I college athlete also motivates me; not everyone gets this opportunity,” Saffa said.

Being an upperclassman, Saffa finds herself in a position of leadership. Incoming freshmen can be easily impressionable, and she takes advantage of the opportunity to instill wisdom upon them.

“I tell them they are as good as everybody else on the team. They will see themselves grow as they progress through college. They are not here for no reason,” Saffa said.

Saffa has been running ever since sixth grade.

Along with competing in middle school, Saffa competed in an AU league every summer with the Aurora Sundowners. Running is a year-round sport for Saffa. She still keeps in touch with some of the Sundowner women she ran with. Some of which also run track for different colleges throughout the Midwest including Purdue and Central Michigan.

Saffa ran all four of her years in high school at Aurora West High School. Saffa stressed that staying confident is a must while running track.

“My junior year of high school was the first time running the 400-meter dash. I was not sure if I could do it; then we got out there, and I broke what was then the school record my first try,” Saffa said.

That confidence has followed her to Eastern. After redshirting indoor track for her freshman year with an Achilles injury, Saffa has consistently gotten better every year throughout her college career.

Parker Valentine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].