Tom Bean sprinter Waller signs with Mount Marty
TOM BEAN — After missing out on almost all of her junior season, Ariel Waller is ready to hit the ground running.
Once her Tom Bean career comes to an end, the sprinter will compete at the next level after she signed to run track for Mount Marty University.
She chose the NAIA program in South Dakota for a variety of reasons that made a long trip up north the right fit.
“I started contacting schools outside Texas and their coach reached out. He was really nice and I liked the facilities they have there,” Waller said. “The people made me feel welcome and I like that it’s a small-town. They had my major (exercise science) and a pre-physical therapy program too.”
Waller will compete in the 100- and 200-meter dashes as well as have the opportunity to help out in relays.
Waller was able to run in just three meets as a junior when the season was paused and then ultimately cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. She was preparing to go for a third straight appearance at the region meet.
“I had a real good feeling about regionals again,” she said. “My times were starting off pretty good junior year. My goal every track season is to get top 10 at regionals. The times are so close; it’s really hard to get to state.”
Her senior season will kick off next month and Waller is excited to get back out on the track.
“I know I’ll do good this season, if we have a season,” she said. “So far every sport has had one and if track doesn’t, I’ll be sad but it’s nice to know that I’ll be able to continue to run in college.”
Waller had qualified for regionals in the 100 and the 200 as a sophomore. She set the school record at the district meet with a time of 12.77 seconds.
During her freshman season, she qualified for the regional meet in the 100, 200 and as part of the 400 relay.
Waller also run has cross-country, played softball and competed in powerlifting, where she was a regional qualifier last spring, during her time at Tom Bean.
But track was the one endeavor that she really took to.
“I’ve always enjoyed running. It started in elementary school and I’m a very competitive person and it carried on to middle school. I really focused on it seventh and eighth grade,” Waller said. “It came naturally but I still work to be the best I can be.”
Mount Marty competes in the Great Plains Athletic Conference and kicks off its outdoor season later this month. The Lancers finished ninth at the GPAC meet last spring and the program had an individual qualifier at the national meet in 2019.