After the final discus had been tossed at the Washington State 2A Track Championships in Tacoma last month, Elisha Allred took her place on the medal stand as the only sophomore among the elite eight.
Allred’s bronze medal effort was all the more impressive considering that just a few months earlier, she was sitting on the sidelines with her foot in a cast, cheering on her volleyball teammates at East Valley High School.
Elisha Allred of the Spokane Valley Stake is a standout track athlete for East Valley High School in Spokane Valley. She competes in the javelin and discus and, last month, placed third in the discus at the state meet in Tacoma.
“For Elisha to place third in state as a sophomore was quite an accomplishment,” said East Valley Athletic Director Joe Kostecka. “I still think had she not been injured in volleyball, she would have been on the all-league team.”
When Allred hurt her foot last fall, she made it a point to remain an integral part of the team. In addition to attending practices and games, she worked to get stronger.
“I didn’t want to be that player that got hurt and never showed up to practice afterwards!” she said. “No way!”
Along with her achievements as an outstanding athlete and honors student, Allred was elected ASB vice-president for the 2012-13 academic year and will serve as the school’s president as a senior. Elisha also qualified for the state vocalist competition as a soprano, was part of All-State Treble Choir and is involved in groups like Washington Drug Free Youth.
“Elisha is a great example of excellence at our school,” said Kostecka. “She’s one of those students who is driven to excel.”
As a member of the Spokane Valley Stake, Allred’s ambitious schedule includes attending early-morning LDS seminary, a class that she said has strengthened her testimony of the restored gospel.
Allred will compete in the Junior Olympic National Track Meet in Baltimore this summer.
“It jump starts my mindset in the right direction at the very beginning of the day,” she said. “The lessons and spirit we feel there make me feel like I can take on any amount of peer pressure that the school day ahead could throw at me.”
Whether it’s the road back from an injury or trying out for the varsity volleyball team in her first year of high school, Allred draws from her faith for strength in the face of trials. One scripture from 2 Timothy 1:7 has been a particular source of reinforcement over the years – “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, of love and of a sound mind.”
“My mom told me to read this and pray to my Heavenly Father to calm my mind,” Elisha said. “I have done this ever since then whenever I am worrying about something, and it is very comforting to me.”
April Henderson, Allred’s Young Women’s president, said Elisha is known as someone with a good work ethic who sets a good example in the ward. Henderson recalled a time when the youth were participating in a Book of Mormon Read-A-Thon and Allred made the project a priority, despite a hectic schedule.
“Elisha is caring and kind to those around her,” said Henderson. “She is a true Christlike example to me.”
While athletics are an important part of Allred’s life, they have never taken precedence over the standards that guide her life. When games and practices fall on Sunday, Elisha can be found in church, not at the track or gym.
In addition to her accomplishments in sports, Allred qualified for state as vocalist and was elected ASB vice president.
“A lot of things are scheduled to be on Sundays, especially volleyball games and tournaments, and even though it breaks my heart not being able to at least go out and sit on the sidelines to support my teammates on those days, I go to church with my family and I pray for their success instead,” Elisha said. “I don’t go and do things on Sundays because I know that I wouldn’t be keeping the Sabbath day holy.”
Elisha’s summer schedule will include the distinction of competing at the Junior Olympic National Track Meet in Baltimore.
While a state championship in the discus and success on the volleyball court are certainly among Allred’s aspirations, she said the gospel has broadened her vision of what is really important.
“Through the teachings of the church, I have been able to start looking at the big picture,” she said. “The little things that I do now are still important, but they are all just leading me to the things of my future. Everything that I do now can either help me along the way, or practically stop me in my tracks. By keeping this in mind, it has helped me make decisions, stay an example to my peers, and keep me driven to be better than I am now. Most people want to focus on their careers, I want to focus on the things that bring you more joy than any amount of money could ever bring. I want to focus on the eternal perspective of things.”