Caroline Edmondson started off as a cross country runner in middle school.
She went to state every year for cross country and even ran a time that could potentially land her on the cross-country team at CSU. But she wasn't fond of running long distance and almost quit. She stuck with running and transitioned into sprints her sophomore year of high school while still running cross country.
Edmondson comes from an athletic background. Her father ran distance in college at Ole Miss, Belmont and ETSU. She also has five brothers that range from 14 to 27 years old, two of which played collegiate sports. Her second oldest brother was a lineman at Towson and her next oldest brother is at Bethel playing basketball.
Her athletics abilities were also showcased on the basketball court. Edmondson was the leading scorer on her high school basketball team and garnered offers for basketball, but ultimately hung up her high tops because she knew she wanted to continue competing in track.
This is where she found CSU.
"I liked how it was on the coast – and that there is warmer weather than Tennessee," said Edmondson. "I've been a Christian since I was little, but my senior year of high school, a couple things happened and I got closer to God and listened to where I should go."
The transition from high school track to college was unusual since Caroline was unsure of how things would go due to signing with a coach that did not return to the school. The new coach, Coach Soyini Thompson, was tough.
"I didn't know how to practice for her type of conditioning," she laughed. "After the first day of practice, I got done and went to my room and said what have I done and why did I choose this. I was so upset, but as time went on, I got used to it. If you work hard, you'll get the results."
Caroline battled an injury during her freshman season that made her question why she was still running.
"I had really bad shin splits freshman year that continued half way through sophomore year," she admitted. "The transition was tough because I don't think I've ever trained like that in my life, but I realized I still liked it."
Having a bad indoor season that year, she got ready for outdoor and performed better.
"(My shins) were still hurting outdoor season, but I performed better," Edmondson said. "I just had to run through it, but it made me stronger for sure. Running this year and not having shin splits - it is amazing because I can run as fast as I want to. I was trying to run with the guys this year for conditioning because I don't take this for granted."
Her drive to win is what helped her decision in focusing on the pentathlon and competing in multiple events. Edmondson felt confident she could bring in points for the team as well as continue developing in her specialty.
"In the past, it had been sporadic - go to shot put, then long jump, then high jump, and it's very tiring and a lot of hours put in," she said. "This year I was training more long sprints because our focus is the 400 hurdles. The training has been better this year."
"Caroline is a very versatile athlete," Coach Thompson said. "She is the type of athlete any coach would wish to have on their team – a team leader, a great student, and puts in more effort than asked."
Caroline's progression since coming to CSU sped up as the junior continued to develop and utilize the weight room.
"In high school, I didn't lift." she admitted. "Lifting helped me get stronger and add power to my performance."
Edmondson built off a strong indoor season last year and returned to the Big South Indoor Championships as one of the front-runners in the pentathlon. She ended up setting the CSU record and taking the conference championship in the event this season. Winning that even was a huge accomplishment for Caroline. However, she isn't satisfied and wants to keep getting better with her goal now to advance to the NCAA Regionals.
Although, Edmondson is a top athlete in the pentathlon, her favorite event still is the 400 hurdles.
"It's hard physically, but it's also mentally tough," Edmondson said. "I think I strive in that type of situation."
She not only excels on the track, but also posted a 4.0 GPA in the classroom as a Kinesiology major. This led to her being named the 2019 Big South Indoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
"Freshman year was about being a new college student athlete - I really learned about discipline and making a routine that after practice, showering and dinner," Edmondson said.
With the outdoor season upon us, Caroline said her focus is on the NCAA Regionals and taking first place in the 400 hurdles at the conference championship. This is not to say though that she's not willing to continue to take on multiple events along the way – even ones that might not be in her typical repertoire.
Laughing about it, "Maybe I'll try pole vault, but maybe not that one, it's so scary. Maybe the 100m or something fast."
As one of the captains for the women's side, there is a lot of excitement for the outdoor season.
"She is a leader in every aspect," Coach Thompson said. "She encourages her teammates; she is our SAAC rep and an active member of FCA. She is the type of athlete you want your new freshman to look up too because she leads by example".
Only having a year left at CSU, Caroline hopes to get into physical therapy school and eventually get her doctorate.
For now though, she is looking ahead to the rest of the outdoor season and the Big South Championship.