Providence Christian track and field standout signs with Samford

Local Sports

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — To cap off her career as an Eagle, Providence Christian’s Sarah Beth Rikard signed to compete on the Samford University track and field team.

Rikard fell in love with the sport three years ago, but she never thought she would get to take it to the next level.

Last week, the Bulldogs called to tell her this dream was coming true.

“I was overjoyed, jumping outside,” Rikard said. “I could’ve been screaming and yelling at the top of my lungs and couldn’t be more thankful.”

Rikard will be competing in the heptathlon for the Bulldogs.

The heptathlon is a multi-discipline event in which athletes compete in seven different events and scores from each one are compiled together.

As a senior, she was the first girl from Providence to qualify for the heptathlon.

“I didn’t think I was gonna be any good,” Rikard said. “I was thinking I was just going to be getting some practice in. I went there and did my best, and I couldn’t have done better.”

Rikard was a scorer on the Eagles 2019 outdoor state runner-up team and 2021 indoor and outdoor state championship teams.

She’s 5’2″, but she is tied for the Eagles’ school record in high jump.

“It’s just been that consistent work that’s allowed her,” Providence Head Track and Field Coach Cliff Carter said. “She’s obviously got the spring, the natural God-given ability to jump and move fast. The talents plus the consistent work have allowed her to reach the next level. I think Samford is getting a steal with her.”

Hurdles and high jump are her favorite events and her family thinks it’s thanks to her gymnastics background.

“We’re excited to see how Samford will help her grow,” Rikard’s mother Julie Ann Rikard said. “The coaching here has been amazing and she knows how to manage her time and do her sports and academics.”

Rikard planned to try out for the Bulldogs cheer team but couldn’t make it to tryouts because of Providence’s track and field sectionals meet.

Now, she couldn’t be more excited to continue competing in her true passion of track and field in college.

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