Most practices, Brandit Copper, then Cal State Fullerton’s associate head coach, had sprinter Ciara Short compete against the school’s male runners.
Short lived for these moments. If she beat the men, the men would have to run additional sets. This happened often, because Short was too fast and too driven and too determined to lose a race to anyone.
“She wanted to be the greatest athlete in school history,” Copper said.
Short, a San Diego native who graduated in 2012, certainly lived up to expectations. She still holds the Titan outdoor records in the 100 meters (11.58), 200 meters (23.28) and 400 meters (51.85), as she set each as a senior in 2011.
Short also claimed four crowns at the Big West Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, winning the 200 and 400 in 2010, and defending those titles in 2011.
“She laid the foundation for the women’s program. She set the bar really high,” Copper said. “She paved the way for a lot of young ladies to come to our program.”
Short, now a professional runner based in Los Angeles and training for the 2018 World Indoor Championships with the goal of making the USA roster for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, said she honed her work ethic while a student-athlete at Fullerton.
She said Copper’s intense training regimen and nutrition program helped her thrive. Short, who was a soccer player as a teenager and decided to focus exclusively on track once she went to college, often studied clips on the Internet of runners, becoming obsessed with the minute details that help sprinters get that much quicker every day.
“I fell in love with the fact that you can challenge yourself and see your results. You can set a goal for yourself and then hit it,” Short said. “It was always that constant desire to want to be better. At any level, if you want to be great at something, you have to never be satisfied. You just have to continue to push yourself.”
Short said she was grateful that Fullerton allowed her to compete in big-time national meets outside of the Big West Conference and outside of California, such as the Texas Relays and the Florida Relays, where she challenged herself among the country’s best.
She remains the only Titan athlete to advance to the Women’s Indoor Track and Field NCAA Championships, placing ninth in the 400 in 2011.
Short is also the last Fullerton athlete to advance to the Outdoor Track and Field NCAA Championships, competing in the 400 in both 2010 and…