West L.A. hurdler Kyndahl Carter also has experience in running the 100m, 4x100m relay, 200m, and 400m events (Courtesy of West L.A. Track and Field)

For West Los Angeles College runner Kyndahl Carter, competing in track and field and going to school goes hand in hand.

“I can’t do one without the other,” Carter said. “I like going to school because I’m able to run track and without school, I won’t be able to run track.”

Carter is a hurdler for the Wildcats, competing in the 100m and 400m hurdles, but injuries and COVID-19 has kept her from the track. Prior to her setbacks, Carter had a personal best of 14.5s in the 100m hurdles and 65.7s in the 400m hurdles.

In 2017, two knee surgeries put her career on hold. She was ready to compete again by 2020, but the COVID-19 quarantine thwarted her chances of competing for that season and the 2021 season.

Through her setbacks, Carter made sure to stay in contact with the coaches at West L.A.; they always believed in her skills and constantly encouraged her to keep training.

“Now the season is here and it’s really a lot of self-reflecting and trusting in my body, trusting in my coaches,” Carter said.

Their belief in her talents is what attracted her to attend West L.A.

“I put my athletic abilities into their hands so they can help me transform,” Carter said. “They gave me the opportunity to showcase my talent.”

Battling injuries also took a toll mentally for Carter. She learned the importance of patience and how to not give up.

“The hardest thing is understanding that it takes time for your body to heal and just don’t give up and having a strong mental,” Carter said. “That was very challenging because going from being one of the best to not knowing if you’re gonna be able to perform like you used to, it can really mess with you.”

Carter is majoring in kinesiology and art. Taking courses in the training room has been an asset to Carter as a student athlete. She desires to know how the body functions

“I know the different techniques you can do to help an athlete get [their] body right,” she said. “I took courses with the trainers so I can learn more. I think training and understanding how they help us helped me get better.”

West L.A. has several resources, including coaches and counselors concerned about the progress of the students. The trainers also provide the student athletes with ice packs and massages to allow them to relax after practice.

“They want to make sure that we are taking the necessary steps that we need to not just be an athlete, but a successful athlete,” Carter said.

In the past, professional athletes and members of Team USA Track and Field have trained on the West L.A. campus. Seeing them work out inspires Carter to reach her full potential. She noted that they are friendly and willing to give advice.

“They do give you a professional vibe and it makes you hone down and actually do what you need to do,” she said. “It’s like a push in the right direction, the goal is not unreachable.”