As a fifth-year senior at East Carolina, high jumper and javelin thrower Lauren Lubarski has been on a roller coaster of a journey from being injured to finishing her career strongly with an invitation to the NCAA East Preliminary.
A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania local, Lubarski comes from a family that includes three brothers, all who loved to compete athletically. However, Lubarski was the standout athlete of the family with the wide variety of sports she participated in. She played volleyball, basketball and softball, along with competing in track, while her family members were more single sport athletes.
“But a majority of the athleticism, just with our whole entire family, have been blessed with good genetics,” Lubarski said.
And along with her athleticism comes her drive to be successful.
“It was her intestinal fortitude to accomplish what she accomplished. It’s her makeup, it’s in her DNA,” East Carolina’s track and field head coach Curt Kraft said.
Lubarski came to East Carolina as a thrower, and as a freshman made it to the national level competing in the javelin. Two years later though, she injured her throwing shoulder, which lead to two surgeries and a redshirt year to get back into competition form. During her redshirt year, she had to slow down a lot with her rehabbing. Lubarski says she felt isolated from the team and coaching staff during her rehab because she wasn’t participating in her normal athletic activities.
“Well the thing I credit most is her, it’s all on her,” Kraft said. “The bottom line is she took the initiative to finish this thing out right, this fifth year out right, and she was bound and determined not to fall short and she definitely didn’t fall short by any stretch of the imagination.”
However, Lubarski says she took advantage of the down time due to her injury by focusing on the beauty in life, which helped her with one of her biggest hobbies, photography.
“I started becoming more introverted,” said Lubarski. “And that’s when I started investing more of my time into journaling and doing more artistic stuff that would make me slow down and look at life differently so I really do like to take pictures.”
She said she enjoys taking photos of nature and took a vacation to the Grand Canyon with a friend from her hometown. This trip, she says, helped her to really see the beauty in nature and enjoy it more.
“That was the best vacation I’ve ever taken in my life because it made me really take some time to slow down from our busy lives,” said Lubarski. “And really appreciate what’s around us because I feel like a lot of people are really distracted by the mindless stuff that’s in front of us and we forget to take time to look at things differently.”
With this life lesson, Lubarski has climbed back into top competing shape for her fifth year at ECU. Lubarski hopes to get back to Eugene, Oregon for nationals to finish off her final year of competing. In order to reach Oregon again, she has to earn it by placing high enough in either of her two events, the javelin and the high jump, at the NCAA East Preliminary, which runs from May 25-27, in Lexington, Kentucky.
“Every single meet that I’ve gone to, I feel that I have huge throw that’s going to come out and wants to come out however it hasn’t come out at the right time,” Lubarski said.