GOLIAD — Lindsay Schwartz is aware of the dark clouds creeping closer as she finds her mark at the high jump pit at Tiger Field.

The oppressive heat and humidity become more noticeable with every approach.

“That has been a little bit of a struggle,” Schwartz said. “One of the reasons I came here was I wanted to get away from a team and I wanted to train by myself because I wanted to basically start back over with a lot of my events and go from square one. We did that in a lot of events. But now it’s coming down to the running events some are with the clock and sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to even come out.”

Schwartz understands the importance of making her way to Tiger Field or one of the high school tracks in Victoria as she prepares to compete in the heptathlon at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, later this month.

“Mentally I’m ready to go,” she said. “It’s all a mental game for me period. I have all the training under my belt for competing seven years pro. It’s literally come down to I let things get in my head that I shouldn’t. If I can get the mind set right for that meet, I can put up a good score.”

Schwartz will compete in her seventh USATF outdoor championship and 14th overall.

She finished third at last year’s outdoor national championships before putting up a personal-best score of 6,050 at last year’s Thorpe Cup.

She’s hoping for another top-three finish with a score of 6,300 or better, which would qualify her for the world championships in Qatar.

Texas graduate Ashtin Zamzow from Goliad, who won the NCAA championship in the heptathlon last month with a personal-best score of 6,222, will also be competing at the outdoor championships.

“It’s been a long season even for starting late,” said Schwartz, who recently competed at the Rice all-comers meet in Houston. “I’ve done quite a few meets, but I feel like I’ve been behind competing against all the college kids who are primed at the end of May. But I’ve had some good marks. My speed in practice has been great. I’m ready to go. I just have to put things together.”

Schwartz moved to Victoria from Santa Barbara, Calif., just over a year ago and continues to train with boyfriend Randy Flach, a six-time all-Southland Conference pole vaulter at Sam Houston State.

“Once I’m out here and the clock starts, my times have been great,” she said. “Some have been the fastest times of my life and I’m sitting here at 29-years old still putting out times so I know I’m very capable of still being in it. It’s just a matter of keeping the motivation and coming out here.”

Schwartz has been involved in multi-event competitions since her junior year in college at South Alabama, where she also played volleyball and was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame in November.

“I was a competition person,” she said. “I knew when it mattered I could show up. It was just a mind set thing. Now that I’ve been in it for so long, it’s hard because I’ve been at so many nationals that I kind of have to pull from that. I have my whole routine the week of just so my body knows, ‘OK, it’s time to go.’”

If Schwartz doesn’t qualify for the world championships, she will likely compete for Team USA at this year’s Thorpe Cup in Germany. Her ultimate goal is to finish her career at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

“I do know next year is it for me so there is an end to the tunnel. I do want to do very well,” she said. “So we’re going to try and put everything we have into it so it will be a little bit easier to get the motivation coming out.”

Schwartz hopes to go into coaching when she retires from competition, and will step away with few regrets.

“I’ve made eight USA teams now,” she said. “So the Olympics, yes that’s the big goal. But not many people get to accomplish that. I saw many of my friends and competitors go out in 2016 with injuries and that was the end of their careers.

“I’m still competing, I’m 29-years old and I have to say when I finish I’ve been healthy. So really, I’m getting better at appreciating it and realizing there’s a lot of people looking up to me. I’ve done and accomplished a lot so I do appreciate it.”

Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.

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