Skylyn Webb, a graduate student at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, won the women's 800m run at the 2018 NCAA Division II outdoor track and field event in Charlotte, N.C. She is the first women's outdoor track and field student-athlete at UCCS to win a national championship.
Webb set a new meet and championship record with a time of 2:02.47 at the May 26 event.
She also earned All-American honors at a championship meet hosted by Johnson C. Smith University, and was named the 2018 RMAC Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and the 2017-18 RMAC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
The daughter of Willyn and Jim Webb, Skylyn is a 2013 graduate of Delta High School. She earned a reputation as a standout basketball player, and attended Fort Lewis College on a basketball scholarship. She also ran track at DHS, competing in 100m and 200m sprints but also running the 400m as a member of a relay team.
In her junior year, Webb ran the 200m at Fort Lewis, moved to the 400m and had just started doing the 800m when she graduated in April 2016 with a degree in psychology.
She entered the graduate program at UCCS with two years of eligibility, gained by switching sports and graduating a year early.
At UCCS, Coach Brandon Masters saw what Webb could do and began pushing her to do even better. "I had some pretty tough workouts, building up speed and endurance," Webb said.
With "amazing" coaching from Masters, Webb was able to shave eight seconds off her previous PR from Fort Lewis College.
Despite the heat and humidity in Charlotte, Webb won the 800m by two seconds. "I just went out and took the lead right away," she said. She explains her strategy: "I try to run a fast first lap and hopefully hold on so no one can catch me."
The win in Charlotte makes Webb eligible for the USA Track and Field (USATF) outdoor championships in Des Moines, Iowa, June 21-24.
While the NCAA Division II championship was a collegiate event, the USATF event is open to qualified college runners as well as pro runners and Olympic hopefuls. "There will be some big pro names in my race, people I've been following for a while, so it will be pretty cool."
A career as a pro runner is also a possibility for Webb. She hopes a sponsor will pick her up once she graduates from college next spring. She's also got her eye on the 2020 Olympic trials. "I'm going to try my best to be an Olympian," she said.
After completing her master's degree in clinical psychology, Webb had planned to begin working on her doctorate, but she said she'd put that on hold if she's able to pick up sponsors and turn pro. Eventually she would like to become a college professor.
But first, the young woman who grew up on a dairy farm in western Colorado will get to see how she stacks up against some of the country's fastest runners at the USATF nationals.