Kinsey Gomez is sharing experience from last year's regional with first-timer Ausman

As the season comes to a close, track becomes a much more individualized sport. Most athletes are done for the season, but those who qualified for the postseason are training, traveling and competing.

Freshman Melissa Ausman and junior Kinsey Gomez are experiencing this part of their season; they are the lone OSU athletes to qualify. They will be heading to the NCAA Regional Preliminaries, which take place May 30-31 in Fayetteville, Ark.

This point of the season can be a difficult transition, switching from training with teammates to going solo. The experience Gomez has from competing at last season's NCAA Regional Prelims, as well as training mostly on her own this season, should benefit her.

"I'd say that it's definitely more event-focused now," Gomez said. "You don't have any sort of distraction. At the regional meet, there's no room for fun, you're there for a purpose."

Ausman, as a freshman, is unfamiliar with the college postseason experience. She has been training and competing with her teammates all season, and now they are gone. That stress will be on her shoulders, as well and the pressure that will come from competing at such a high level.

Ausman hopes to find a way to stay focused and in the zone going into the meet. She was off her game in her previous two meets, with two of her worst throws of the season.

Gomez hopes to share her experiences with Ausman, as Gomez has improved in each of her three seasons at Oregon State. Since it's Ausman's first experience, she said she will gain a lot of valuable experience that should benefit her in the future.

"I just want to share my experience with her," Gomez said. "Tell her not to be intimidated by the other athletes, because anything can happen on any day."

Gomez was not happy with her performance at the Pac-12 Championships, for which she finished 14th. She says she was disappointed at first, but was able to learn strategy that she hopes to bring into her next race.

Gomez says that her performance at last year's regionals, for which she finished 42nd, and this year's Pac-12 Championships, have lit a fire in her. She feels confident for next weekend.

Scott McReynolds, sports reporter

On Twitter @scottyknows80

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