LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - McNeese track and field stars (sprinter) Aleyah Donald and (Javelin) Donovan Banks weren’t going to let the coronavirus take away their senior season. When the NCAA announced it was awarding spring sport student-athletes an extra year of eligibility, both knew they were going to take advantage.
“It was a very easy decision for me. I’ve dedicated a lot of my life to this sport and seeing how far I can throw. I really want to see what I can do,” Javelin thrower Donovan Banks said.
“I only get this once. I can always just go and get a job. But I feel like if my legs and arms are still capable, and my heart still wants to run, then I should give it my all for this last go,” said sprinter Aleyah Donald.
And to be able to give your all, you have to be in great shape, which is easier said than done these days.
“I’ve been doing a lot of outside the box workouts,” Banks said.
“Anyone that’s in town we’ll go to open fields or if the track is open. We’ll go to Barbe’s track," Donald said. "We might not be able to lift, but we’re doing circuits. We’re just trying to stay in the best shape we can.”
“What I have been trying to work on the most is my mind, body, and spirit," said Banks. "I’ve been trying to get everything in line to be the best person I can be. Hopefully, in return, it makes me a better athlete.”
With one final season, comes aspirations.
“I want to be able to take not just myself, but my teammates to regionals. That was my biggest goal this season. I was like three spots away from getting to regionals last year for outdoors. So, I know for a fact I am there,” Donald said.
“The end goal is to represent the US and to go as far as I can. I want to be the best javelin thrower in the country, and I’ll come out and say that,” said Banks.
Both athletes believe this long, unexpected time off can, in the long run, be used as motivation.
“I’ll be better next year than I would have been this year," said Banks. "That’s what I think.”