Let’s Discus Success: Katelyn Sewell Throws Herself Into an Impressive First CMS Track Season

May 1, 2024
4 mins read

Juliette Des Rosiers ’26
Copy Editor

Katelyn Sewell quickly rose to track star status during her first season with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) athletics. The Scripps first-year has set multiple personal records (PRs) in hammer, shot put, and discus, putting herself in the running for multiple newcomer accolades and possibly nationals for discus.

Sewell shared that she started track and field in high school after being approached by the school’s coach. Although she was simply seeking a resume padder, she continued the sport because it was easy to develop her skills during COVID-19 social distancing.

“My coach was like, ‘I like your attitude, you should come out and throw,’” she said. “I was very college-focused even as a freshman, so I was like, this is just another thing to add to my resume.”

She explained that following a torn ACL, MCL, LCL, PCL, and meniscus in 2020, track and field became the only dependable option for a competitive sport. “Before, track was my least important [focus],” Sewell said. After her injury, “it [became her] number one thing.”

After two successful years in high school track, Sewell started getting emails from college scouts, and eventually, CMS reached out to her. However, she commented that, even though recruitment was exciting, her journey to choosing Scripps was a bit unconventional since CMC was disproportionately advertised to potential athletes over the other two schools.

“The frustrating thing was that I wasn’t really told anything about Scripps,” Sewell said. “I ended up doing a lot more research on my own. I was able to find a lot more other resources and avenues here and had tour guides that I was able to talk to.”

Despite the barriers to information on Scripps, Sewell is pleased very happy with her choice. Scripps’ commitment to liberal arts education enticed her to enroll here, and she is content with how her time at Scripps has added to her athletic career.

“I think it was a challenge that I hadn’t really seen before in my life, especially as a young adult woman who came from a very conservative town,” she said. “I mean, technically CMC is also a liberal arts school. But Scripps to me is more the embodiment of [those values].”

During her first season at CMS, Sewell has impressed many across CMS athletics, setting PRs of 11 meters in the shot put, 41.30 meters in discus, and 27.47 meters in hammer throw, an event she had never tried before. Her discus PR also puts her in the running for first place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) league. Sewell expressed that hitting these marks has increased her confidence.

“I was telling my coach, even though it’s like 15 feet, that feels like a huge difference, [a] change in terms of, oh, I can do this,” she said. She also shared how this improved performance is something her coaches believed she could achieve, but college training helped her believe in herself, too.

“[Coaches] always say, ‘I just want you to believe in yourself as much as I believe in you,’” she said. “And you know that weird thing where like you’d hear it a million times, but for some reason, the 50,000,000th time you’re like, oh, yeah, maybe that’s true. I feel like, oh, I can believe that. I am good at my sport.”

Overall, Sewell shared the thing she is most proud of from this season is her consistency, something she felt she could never quite tap into during previous years of competition.

“Throughout high school, I was just a big overthinker, and I would get a lot of performance anxiety,” Sewell said. “Something that’s really changed this year, at least for me, is I’m consistently going up in numbers.” She described how she was able to harness this confidence in her consistency to casually set a new discus PR at the last SCIAC dual-meet at Whittier College, despite less-than-ideal weather conditions that could have otherwise thrown her for a loop.

Sewell explained that this consistency helps her relax during meets and lets her muscle memory take over. “It’s really nice, actually relaxing,” she said. “It shouldn’t be this entire technical thing. It’s very reflective of how things at their best should feel very in place. I do a lot of the hard work in practice for it to reflect how I do in my performance.”

This confidence has spilled over into her academic life as well, as Sewell believes that when she feels capable in one area of her life, she starts to feel capable in other areas as well. This, she says, is also a benefit of playing a Division III sport where you are surrounded by like-minded, driven student-athletes.

“If I didn’t have my team, I don’t know how I would have survived my first semester,” Sewell said, citing the support from upperclassmen across CMS, but especially from Scripps, as guiding her through the adjustment of starting college both academically and socially.

Sewell emphasized that she also takes pride in being a Scripps student performing this well. She shares how Scripps CMS athletes can feel as if they are taken less seriously and don’t feel like both their identities are reconciled in the 5C community.

“I think that’s where the conversation needs to be had; [there needs to be] a Venn diagram [where] Scripps and athletes can be in the same circle,” Sewell said. “I’m really excited to be able to say to my future employers and people that I know that I went to a [historically] all women’s school and I was able to kick ass.”

While looking ahead to the end of the season and on the precipice of a national championship and newcomers’ nominations, Sewell is positive and proud of her accomplishments. “It feels so good that I can be one of the top athletes for CMS track and I’m a Scrippsie.”

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