Graduated Copperas Cove standout sprinter Anayah Copeland will continue her track career at Tarleton State University.
Copeland signed with the school last month.
She initially was set on going to Texas-San Antonio but discovered Tarleton seemed to be a better fit.
“I liked the environment,” she said.
Tarleton is moving from NCAA Division II to Division I, a move that became official today. The Texans will compete in the Western Athletic Conference.
Copeland has been participating in track for 12 years, since she was 6. She was a nine-time qualifier in the Junior Olympics and was a regional qualifier in the 1,600-meter relay in 2017 for the Lady Dawgs.
“Track is a very big part of my life,” she said.
Copeland’s specialty is the 400. She was the runner-up at the 2019 District 12-6A Meet. She has also run the 100, 200 and 800 relay for Copperas Cove.
Her senior season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. The UIL suspended all sports seasons on March 16, two weeks before the District 12-6A track meet was set to begin at Waco Midway. They never resumed.
“I had a lot of plans for the season but I was never able to complete those,” Copeland said.
The disappointment was tempered by the knowledge that she still had a future in the sport.
“It wasn’t too bad because I knew I’d still get to run again. I just missed a lot of opportunities.”
Copeland will study pre-medicine at Tarleton. She said she has taken many medically focused courses in high school, including a Certified Nursing Assistant course that was cut short by the pandemic.
“I hope to be a surgeon,” she said. “I haven’t decided on which specialty I want to go into, but I do know that the medical field is definitely for me.
“I’ve always been interested in anything medical. ... I do like helping people and being able to make a difference, so surgery’s a way to do that.
“Covid has taken many chances and opportunities from me, but I will continue to stay motivated for my goals regardless.”