FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Former Lumberjack track star Shamelle Pless has added yet another notch in her accomplished belt, as the 22-year-old 2015 graduate will compete at this year's North America, Central America, Caribbean Athletic Association's Under-23 (NACAC U23) Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador, July 15-17.
Pless will be representing her native country of Canada at this year's NACAC U23 Championships, competing in the 100m dash.
"I am so excited about competing at NACAC U23 Championships this summer," said Pless. "I told Coach McDaniel at the beginning of the year about this team and even though it was an Olympic year, I knew that NACAC would be an excellent opportunity to represent Canada as well. It's an awesome opportunity, and I am very thankful."
A 2015 USTFCCCA All-Academic athlete, Pless has been busy since completing her business degree last spring. The seven-time All-Conference athlete and school record-holder in the indoor 200m has been actively training with current Associate Head Coach of the track and field team Kenny McDaniel, working specifically on maintaining a positive outlook—one of McDaniel's specialties.
"Coach McDaniel has had a huge impact on my track career and my perspective," said Pless. "He helped me, trained me and pushed me to times that I never thought I would run. He's made me better not only physically, but also mentally and teaching me so much about the sport, myself and the importance of working hard. He's an amazing coach, and I'm so happy I've been able to train with him."
As documented above, Pless—who holds a lifetime-best mark of 11.73 in the 100m—certainly acknowledges the impact Coach McDaniel has had on her success and achievements over the years. Likewise, McDaniel's admiration for the Edmonton native and what she has been able to do as an NAU alumnus cannot be overstated.
"This is an outstanding opportunity for Shamelle to compete at NACAC U23 and represent Canada," said McDaniel. "We started training this fall with a goal in mind for her to compete at the Olympic Games or NACAC U23. This is a huge accomplishment for her and her athletic career."
Pless still has some business to take care of before she heads off to El Salvador on July 13, as she will also be competing for Canada at the Olympic Trials in her hometown on July 7. However, that doesn't mean she hasn't thought about what this moment means to her.
"This is best achievement of my career," said Pless. "I made a world team when I was a youth, and that was when I was coming into NAU. But to make another world team at 22 years old and during an Olympic year is absolutely insane."