March 6, 2014
IRVING, Texas - East Carolina's Kayla Padgett was named Female Field Performer of the Meet for her efforts at the 2014 Conference USA Indoor Track and Field Championships over the weekend in Birmingham, Ala. Padgett earned the honors along with UTEP's Mark Jackson who was named Male Field Performer of the Meet as well as Anthony Rotich of UTEP and Elinor Kirk of UAB who were named Male and Female Track Performers of the Meet, respectively.
"First off, congratulations to Kayla," head coach Curt Kraft said. "We're very proud of her. She was the number one performer in the weight throw all year long and is fourth in the nation. She is very deserving. When somebody works as hard as she does in the classroom and on the athletic field, those are the ones you are truly excited for. Kayla is the epitome of a good student-athlete. She takes both her academics and athletics very seriously. She's had a great indoor season, but there is still more to come for her. She still has the outdoor season and I think she'll continue to do bigger and better things."
Padgett, a junior thrower, earned gold in the women's 20-pound weight throw as she tallied a heave of 20.87-meters (68-05.75) in the event which was more than two meters further than the second-place finisher. She came back the following day with a second-place finish in the women's shot put with a career-best mark of 14.72-meters (48-03.50). She is now second in the East Carolina record book in the women's shot put.
"I'm just really blessed to have the opportunity to compete and have such a great coach," Padgett said. "Everyone has been so supportive of me. I'm just so thankful."
The Shallotte, N.C., native finished the Conference USA Indoor Championships with a First Team All-Conference Selection en route to leading the Pirates to the Women's Indoor Title with a total of 88 points.
Padgett will see action at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the women's weight throw beginning on Friday, March 14 in Albuquerque, N.M. She earned a qualifying mark in the event after registering a career-best and school-record setting mark of 21.95-meters (70-00.25) at the Penn State National earlier this season. Her tally is good for fourth in the nation.