Blad, who graduated from EHS in June 2014, established a Utah Valley record when she ran the 55-meter hurdles in 8.13 seconds. The record-setting performance came during her first indoor performance of the season at the Dec. 4-5 Winter Wildcat Open.
Utah Valley associate head coach Kirke Adamson has been impressed with the former Hornet.
“The freshman year is often a challenge for the elite high school athlete,” Adamson wrote in an email. “They have been the proverbial ‘big fish in a little pond’ and when entering the college level, competing against a couple hundred athletes that are just as good or better than you can be intimidating. Maria met these challenges head on, did not get discouraged and was beginning to become an elite collegiate hurdler when she got injured midway through the outdoor track season.
“Although she may always have lingering pain, she has embraced being the best hurdler she can be by learning from her teammates and coaches the nuances of the hurdles and adding that skill to her amazing speed.”
Adamson figures if Blad remains healthy she will contend for the Western Athletic Conference title in the 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season and the 100-meter hurdle title during the outdoor season. He said it will not come as a surprise if Blad runs in the 13.70 range – nearly a full second faster than her high school time – and qualifies for the NCAA championships.
Blad had a stellar career at Enumclaw High, winning the state Class 3A championship in the 100-meter hurdles during her senior season.
She is the daughter of Enumclaw’s Paul and Nicole Blad.