From Malaysia to Winona, Vallabouy makes an impact

Barry Allen, Sports Reporter

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First-year runner Shereen Vallabouy had great success this year on the Winona State University track and field team, but it was not an easy journey for her to get on the team in the first place.

Vallabouy joined the Winona State track and field team at the midway point of the indoor season and immediately made a positive impact on the team.

For Vallabouy, being a part of a team has always been a part of life. Her involvement in sports started when she was 12.

“My mom used to tell me that I’m talented and I was also interested in track since I was young, as it runs in my family,” Vallabouy said. My father is the South East record holder for 800 meters and my mom was an Olympian during the 1988 Olympics in the 400 Meters event. I have played badminton and netball during high school days in PE classes, but I have not taken these sports seriously for a long-term career.”

The first-year runner went to high school at Bukit Jalil Sports School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In her short time at Winona, she has already accomplished a lot.

In the 400m dash, Vallabouy set a new Winona State indoor record in the event with a time of 55.02 seconds at nationals in route to second team All-American recognition.

Vallabouy also earned first team All-American honors in the 4x400m relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Her times and honors are one of the main reasons Winona State is currently ranked fourth in the Outdoor Track and Field Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

Vallabouy said her journey at Winona State has not been easy, which resulted in her joining the team late.

“Well, it was my dream to join universities in the states and I was looking forward to obtaining an athletic scholarship. My enrollment was a little late as I took a year of break from my pre-university back in Malaysia to sit for my SAT and Toefl test as it is required to take it before studying in the states,” Vallabouy said. “The application process on my side delayed my intake and I would say it was God’s blessings that I got to be here in Winona State by now. My sincere gratitude to Mr. Wai Hon Liew, an ex-student here from Winona State who recommended me to Coach Mason Rebarchek, who helped me to get through the process of intake.”

With the outdoor season right around the corner, Vallabouy shared her personal goal and excitement for the outdoor campaign.

“I’m happy overall with my indoor season performance and I’m always looking forward to work harder,” Vallabouy said. “My goal for the outdoor is to better my personal record of 54.26 which was not shattered for almost four years. this year successfully.”

Vallabouy will attempt to continue her success in the Ashton May Invite, which will take place in La Crosse, Wisconsin on Saturday, April 6th.