By Edward Burnette 

Shayla Noil hadn’t run track for two years before this season began. Yet, she set personal records on Friday at the Oregon Twilight Meet in both the 100 meters and the 200 meters for Lane Community College.

Before enrolling at Lane, Noil spent time at Southern Oregon University early in her college career but was unable to stay.

“I was told I would get a scholarship and I didn’t get it,” she said. “I left the first term and went to school to become a medical assistant.”

But she couldn’t stay away from track.

“I was able to get my transcript, and one of my professors paid off my whole balance and I was able to go to Lane,” Noil said. She’s only been at Lane for two and a half months but is already making an impact on the track.

On Friday, Noil set her new personal record and placed fourth in the 100 with a time of 12.18 seconds. She finished three spots behind the eventual winner of the race, Kaylah Robinson of Oregon, who ran 12.03. Noil’s time matched that time in a wind-aided run at the OSU High Performance Meet in late April.

Noil also ran the 200 in a personal record 24.86 later in the meet. Sarah King of George Fox University won the race in 24.57.

“Every meet I feel like I’m getting better and better, and I just want to see what the end of the year is going to look like,” Noil said. “I’ve only been at Lane for two and half months so I’ve just been catching up.”

The tumultuous nature of Noil’s path to Lane pales in comparison to the up-and-down experience of her childhood. When Noil was just 7 years old, she and her family were forced out of their home in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina. They lived out of a tent on their land but left for Mississippi in hopes of safer conditions. Five years later, they moved back to New Orleans.

Yet this was not their last move. Before Noil began her sophomore year of high school, she and her family left for Portland for their own protection. Noil’s father was a domestic abuser and her mother had finally decided to leave for good. Noil enrolled in Grant High School in Portland.

The goings-on of life can be drastically different from New Orleans to Portland, yet two things remained constant for Noil: track and family.

“I think family has been a huge part,” she said. “My brothers go to the University of Idaho and play football, and it’s just the family piece. I want to do the best I can for my mom and my family.

“Track has been able to help me take my mind of things that have happened in my life and it’s a place where I can just let go.”