Ayana Fields was the sole Bronco representing CPP at the NCAA Championship Meet. | Courtesy of CPP Athletics

Speed, stamina, success: Inside Ayana Fields’ track career at CPP

By Elizabeth Teo, March 19, 2024

“Lead by example” is how Chris Bradford, head women’s track and fields coach, and Darrell Smith, assistant coach for sprints and hurdles, described Ayana Fields as she ran in her fourth consecutive appearance at the 2024 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships, representing the Broncos as the sole qualifier for this year’s event.

Recovering from a previous injury, Fields made her comeback in the 60-meter dash, clocking in at 7.60 seconds. Despite delivering the fifth-best time in her heat and placing 17th overall, she fell short of advancing to the finals by failing to secure a top-eight position.

“I was here at nationals, and I got to experience it, and more importantly I can get back to what I am used to,” Fields said.

“It’s nice to not feel any lingering pain as well,” she added.

While making it to the nationals again is an accomplishment for Fields, it is not her only one in the season. During the 2022-2023 season, Fields became a CCAA All-American in four categories, broke the 4×100-meter relay race school record and received the CCAA All-Academic award.

As one of the most seasoned runners on the team, Fields leads through her actions. Bradford said that Fields embodies the ideal team player through her dedication in the weight room, consistent wins, and exemplary character, setting an example for others.

“I practice to a certain extent, and I compete to a certain level,” Fields said. “I am trying to push you to your level to accomplish your goals.”

Fields also competed in last year’s NCAA championship. | Courtesy of CPP Athletics

Fields’ love for running was born during childhood games of tag, as Fields found her interest chasing her friends around, but her passion peaked when she was only 6 years old, competing in her track club.

Fields’ mother took her athletic pursuits to a new level, hiring a private trainer and laying the foundation for the skills still evident today.

From the start of her career at CPP, Bradford knew Fields was a disciplined and determined athlete but balanced.

“She is all strengths; everything about her is a strength, and she has a desire to be great,” said Bradford.

Though naturally quiet and kept to herself, Smith knew he would be able to help her grow her capability into the athlete she is today.

In her six years competing, she has found success through consistent practice, confidence-building and absorbing the critiques given to her by her coaches. Prior to each race, Fields said she always talks herself through the race with the help of her coaches, who help her visualize what would happen right when the gun goes off.

“Coach Smith always told me to trust in my fitness,” said Fields. “This has always resonated with me, knowing I have put in the work, trust my abilities and know I can run the times I need.”

Beyond breaking records and being recognized for her wins, Fields enjoys experiencing victories with her community and family.

Ayana’s twin brother Ryan (center) has attended nearly every meet with her. | Courtesy of CPP Athletics

One of her favorite memories is from a meet in Long Beach. After crossing the finish line and achieving a new personal record that day, it wasn’t the PR itself that made it memorable. It was when Ryan, her twin, was there to greet her right on the track.

“I crossed the line out of breath, and he was there hugging me and shaking me while I was off balance, and he was so happy just cheering me on,” said Fields.

Fields has always been big on team culture and felt that way since winning the CCAA Championship conference for the first time in 2022. Getting to celebrate together in a team that has a winning mentality was huge for her, with Fields adding that no matter how often the team jokes around, they always want to win and accomplish a lot by putting their best foot forward.

Doing it all on and off the field, Fields attributes her success to her time management skills, training hard during practice and pouring the rest of her time into her thesis, as she is working toward earning her master’s degree this spring semester.

Feature image courtesy of CPP Athletics

Verified by MonsterInsights