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Spartans of UD - Nai'lah Anders

By University Relations Staff

Spartans of UD highlights what makes the University of Dubuque special - the people.

Nai'lah Anders, of Moline, Illinois, is a first-year pre-nursing major and a member of the University of Dubuque women's track and field. She recently became the 2024 American Rivers Conference Outdoor Discus Champion with a throw of 47.76 meters on her first throw in the event - a personal best. With that throw, she now sits at No. 5 in Division III discus throwers and is the top freshman in the country.

How did you get into track and field?

"I got into track in the eighth grade. My math teacher was the throwing coach so he asked me to come watch a practice, and from there I knew I wanted to be a part of a track team. I never thought I would be any good, but my first year doing track in eighth grade, I went to state and I just wanted to keep going so I could move on to bigger and better things."

What do you do to prepare for meets?

"What I usually do to prepare for meets is listen to gospel music on the way to the meet or while I'm waiting for my flight to start just to clear my mind and let God guide me to do my best and give my all."

How does it feel to be one of the top Division III discus throwers in the country as a freshman?

"Being one of the top discus throwers as a first-year almost seems surreal to me. It's an amazing feeling, but I didn't do it all myself. Coach Malm played a huge part in really helping me perfect my form - even though we still have a long way to go - and trusting the process is what got me here because it's not going to look perfect in the beginning."

What has been the highlight of your track and field career at UD so far?

"I wish I could say every meet here at UD was a highlight for me; my team is absolutely amazing with the high energy and support they bring to every meet. But if I had to choose one moment, it would definitely be winning discus and becoming a Conference Champion this past weekend. And I couldn't do it without the support I get from my team and coaches, it's worth more than any medal!"

In your opinion, what makes the University of Dubuque unique?

"The people! Everyone is so nice and it's genuine, especially when you're on a team - that's like your family. We support one another through the good and the bad, and that's what I love about it. The staff are amazing too and make you want to do better outside of your sports."