From Anguilla to Texas – Junior track and field sprinter Artesha Richardson

From Anguilla to Texas – Junior track and field sprinter Artesha Richardson

From Anguilla to Texas – Junior track and field sprinter Artesha Richardson
November 10
13:11 2018

In the 2017-18 track and field season, junior sprinter Artesha Richardson placed in the top ten in several events in the Conference USA indoor and outdoor championships, including a sixth-place finish in the outdoor championships as a part of the 4×100-meter relay team. Returning for the 2018-19 season, Richardson has a chance to improve on her accomplishments.

Richardson is from the British island Anguilla, located in the Caribbean. Her development as a track and field sprinter is different in comparison to United States athletes, she didn’t have facilities or locations to compete in.

“We traveled to different places to compete for [the] CARIFTA (Caribbean Free Trade Association Games) and different games,” Richardson said. “We do not have a track. We compete on a field so that is different.”

Anguilla has a population of roughly 15,000 people – considerably smaller than UNT, which has over 38,000 students.

“I didn’t know how big other places are,” Richardson said. “You heard about other places being big, but to actually see it is something different. [Anguilla] is just very different from the United States.”

While on vacation in the United States, Richardson came to North Texas to meet the director of track and field — Carl Sheffield — and discuss how she could be a part of the program and potentially earn a track and field scholarship. Richardson showed Sheffield a video of her running and he provided advice and insight on what Richardson could improve on.

“[He said] I need to work on my form and my times need to go down and if I could do that by a certain time then I could get the full scholarship,” Richardson said.

With Sheffield’s advice, Richardson set on improving herself as a track and field runner in order to receive a track and field scholarship from North Texas. Heading into the 2017-18 school year, Richardson received and accepted an offer to run track for the Mean Green.

The transition to the United States and North Texas was certainly a major change for Richardson and at times, it was difficult.

“At first when I came here I wasn’t really communicating with others,” Richardson said. “I was really quiet, but I’m not a quiet person. When I came here everything was different because I’m moving up here with basically no family. I’m living by myself and I didn’t really have friends here so I had to start fresh. It was just a big transition.”

Through time, Richardson has adjusted to life in North Texas, especially with the help of her teammates on the track and field team.

“As time went by it got easier because I could adapt to what was going on around me to being in a bigger place,” said Richardson. “It got easier also because I started communicating more with the members on my track and field team and they became my friends so I had people to talk to up here.”

Junior sprinter Jahyda Dixon was Richardson’s roommate when she arrived to North Texas and has a first-hand account of Richardson’s development.

”I remember her asking many questions and eager to learn when she first got here,” said Dixon. “From being her roommate to now, Artesha has gained so much comfort and has adjusted well. From hardly ever speaking to having the funniest conversations full of laughs, I would say she has developed beyond what anyone would think.”

The training at the collegiate level as compared to the training in Richardson’s home of Anguilla is more challenging and Richardson struggled with when she arrived to North Texas.

“There were struggles, adapting to the training, going to the gym because we’re competitive in the gym and on the track so lifting weights is not my strongest point, so that was a struggle,” said Richardson.

Communication was difficult for Richardson, but once she started to get better at bonding with her teammates, track became less of a struggle for her.

“Once the communication between me and my coach got better, that made track easier,” said Richardson.

Being from such a small nation like Anguilla and competing at the NCAA level, there is a sense of pride that Richardson carries for her home nation.

“For my country I am the national record holder for the 200 meters and 400 meters indoor and outdoor sprinting,”Richardson said. “There’s always a country pride that I carry, because I always want to do better to break my own records to keep challenging other athletes younger than me to reach it, but then still have it high enough that they don’t reach it that easily.”

Featured Image: Artesha Richardson. Courtesy Mean Green Sports.

About Author

Jacob Solomon

Jacob Solomon

Business student at the University of North Texas and sports writer at the North Texas Daily.

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