Chelsea Wishard: Making Waves

The KHS grad has set multiple Pepperdine records

Now running in her senior season on the Pepperdine University track and field team, Chelsea Wishard is looking to continue her success that started at a young age on the Garden Isle. The 2007 Kaua’i High School graduate ran four years on the varsity track and cross-country teams. This is where she began to dominate, not only on Kaua’i, but at the state level as well.

The Lawai native earned state titles in the 1,500 meters during her junior and senior campaigns. She also holds KIF records in the 800 meters (2:21), 1,500 meters (4:51) and 3,000 meters (11:01). Wishard also was part of cross country teams that took home the league title four years in a row.

“The feeling of success you get when you complete a hard workout or do well in a race, not only do you feel great physically, you feel mentally great as well,” Wishard says.

And now in Malibu, Calif., Wishard has become one of the Waves’most-decorated athletes. Last spring she set new varsity records in the 1,500 meters (4:39.35) and 3K (10:04.01).

“We were pleased with the continued progress of our returnees and newcomers,” Pepperdine track and field coach Robert Radnoti says. “2010 was a good year for Pepperdine track and field, and 2011 promises to be even better.”

Wishard chose Pepperdine because of the location and the opportunity it offered her to excel academically and spiritually.

After three seasons, she feels she made the right choice, as her results have been steady and her growth has been more than what she hoped. In 2009, she finished third at the West Coast Conference Championships for the second straight year and was named to the All-WCC Team. Wishard went on to become the first Pepperdine female harrier in program history to finish inside the top five at WCCs in consecutive years.

“I always make plans going into a run,” Wishard says. “I want to start strong without being too fast and stay with the top pack, but I forget about a lot of that once the race starts and I just run.”

During her sophomore season she was Pepperdine’s highest finisher at the WCCs since Rebecca Freebury’s 1999 victory. Wishard led the way as the Waves’ top runner in all six regular-season competitions.

“I like being able to compete against the other conference schools at a meet we all take a little more seriously,” she says. “I like competing against LMU, because they’re our rivals. San Francisco and Santa Clara have some good girls, and Portland is just unbelievable; the Pilots are amazing to watch.”

As a freshman, she appeared in six cross country races, placing 33rd at the WCC Championships (23:52) and 159th at the NCAA West Regional (23:18).

In track, Wishard set school records in the 800 meters (2:19) and in the 1,500 meters (4:45).

“Regionals is a great race, but I still have a lot more work to do in order to be competitive at that level,” she says. “I just don’t want to be good there on my own. I want to do it with my teammates and get us all to nationals, and I know this program will get to that point one day.”

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