Northwestern Press

Saturday, July 21, 2018
PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF MORAVIAN ATHLETICSTrista Cunningham had a record-setting senior year as a two-sport college athlete. PRESS PHOTO COURTESY OF MORAVIAN ATHLETICSTrista Cunningham had a record-setting senior year as a two-sport college athlete.

Cunningham caps record-setting career

Thursday, June 28, 2018 by TODD KRESS tkress@tnonline.com in Sports

Coming out of Northwestern, Trista Cunningham had been recruited to play basketball at Moravian College. But the track and field standout had hopes of throwing for the Greyhound track and field team as well.

Rewind to the middle of her freshman basketball season. Cunningham spoke with her coaches about the possibility of competing in both sports. She ultimately decided to take on the challenge, and she called it one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

“It got a lot at times, but it really helped with my time management,” Cunningham said. “Meeting new people and creating new relationships at Moravian, I think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Once I knew I could stay on top of school and everything, I think it was one of the best decisions I made to compete in both sports.”

Cunningham recently capped a successful senior track and field season with the Greyhounds. She won the discus event for the third straight season and also grabbed first place in shot put at the 2018 Landmark Conference Outdoor Championships to help the Greyhounds earn their 11th straight league championship.

Her mark of 41.37 meters in the discus set a new meet record. She also placed second in the hammer throw.

“The ending of this track and field season was amazing,” Cunningham said. “I did a lot more than I expected, to be honest. Getting Field Landmark Athlete of the Year was something that I knew I could accomplish, but I was a little happy and very surprised I did.”

The biggest surprise came in the shot put. Cunningham tossed 12.08 meters, over a meter further than what she had been throwing before the meet.

“Shot put was actually a big surprise for everyone,” Cunningham said. “I was throwing probably in the 10- or 11-meter range, so to throw over 12 [meters] was really something unexpected. I think it was just the competition got to me, and I just threw a bomb out there.”

Cunningham’s performance at the meet earned her Outdoor Field Landmark Athlete of the Year, a title she had in the back of her mind, but was equally surprised when it was announced in early May.

The Greyhounds did not compete in the ECAC meet, but Cunningham did compete in two last chance meets for a chance to qualify for nationals. She placed fourth in the discus (40.21 meters) at Swarthmore College on May 14, then placed second at Widener University on May 17 with a throw of 39.12 meters in the same event.

Her hopes of qualifying for nationals were over at that point.

For a basketball recruit coming out of high school, Cunningham accomplished more in track and field at the collegiate level than she ever thought possible.

Cunningham started in all 26 games she played in this past winter basketball season, averaging 6.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 26 minutes per contest. She leaves Moravian with 584 career points and 403 career rebounds.