Northwest

Carmela Cardema Baez joins Talkin' Ducks to discuss 10,000-meter national title

Northwest

Just two years ago Oregon’s Carmela Cardema Baez finished as the runner-up for the 10,000-meter national title.

Two years later at Hayward Field, the Oregon senior from Spain made amends for her 2019 loss and won the 10,000 national title during the opening day of the women’s NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship meet in front of a crowd of over 5,000.

On the latest episode of Talkin’ Ducks, Baez talked about her win, coming back after losing last year for COVID, and more.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast!]

“Coming to nationals was the most confident and least nervous I have been, at least the last few days before,” Cardema Baez said. “It wasn’t just coming back from that championship win I almost got. It was, ‘this is my last race as a Duck. If I don’t win, I’m going to remember this no matter what.’ I just trusted myself and I’m going to work hard and I have to be proud with it.”

Cardama Baez won in a personal-record of 32 minutes, 16.13 seconds, and became Oregon’s first 10,000 champion since Kathy Hayes won in 1984, which also happened at Hayward Field.

 

After losing last season due to COVID-19, Cardama Baez was going to enjoy her final season. As nationals approached she felt anxious knowing the end was near, but when it was time to perform the jitters disappeared. 

“The whole buildup of championship season had a lot of stress and things I knew what was going to happen,” Cardama Baez said. “There was so much going on and anticipation I had to deal with that early on. Like four weeks ahead. By the time I got to nationals, all the stress and pressure went away. I was just happy to be there. I was happy no matter the outcome.”

She was initially unsure of returning for the season. One because of the unpredictability of the NCAA, and two she wanted to make a return made sense educationally. 

“It was definitely really hard,” she said. “Just the uncertainty and knowing if I would even be back… I didn’t wanna come back just for running. I wanted to make sure academically I was doing the right thing for my life outside of running so I applied for grad school.”

It was a successful end for Cardama Baez. She won a national title and was able to attend grad school. A perfect bow on what a student-athlete is.