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Texas Tech Student-Athlete Spotlight: D’Andra Carter
May 28, 2009

By Taylor Wilson
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

It is no surprise to see the accomplishments of Texas Tech discus thrower D’Andra Carter after understanding the athleticism, the success and the morals that have been instilled in her by her family.

D’Andra, a three-year letter winner from Red Oak, just won her second consecutive Big 12 Championship in the discus. The championship capped off her seventh win in the discus event this year and qualified her for the NCAA Championships coming up in a few days. Carter currently holds the record for the women’s discus throw with a mark of 189’-05”.

The people-pleasing Carter turned her kindness and desire to prove herself to people into a strength that she believes has driven her to be such a competitor.

“I know a lot of people expect a lot and I really hate letting people down,” she said. “So if I don’t do as well and don’t live up to the potential that God has blessed me with, I feel like I let everybody down and I don’t like feeling that way.”

One feeling she does like though is the one of being on top of the competition. But for Carter it is apparent that winning means more to her than just receiving a trophy; it’s more of a way of thinking and a thought that many hall-of-fame athletes and proven champions have been ingrained with.

“I’m very competitive and I don’t like to lose either,” she said. “There’s something about being on top and it’s a great feeling and I like that.”

The success that this two-time All-American has had throughout her career isn’t something that is new to her or her family.

Her father, Michael, made a name for himself throwing the discus and playing football throughout his career. Michael attended SMU and while competing for the Mustangs was an All-American selection and won four outdoor and three indoor championships in the shot put event.

In 1984, Michael was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, the same year he won a silver medal in the shot put at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He is the only athlete to ever win an Olympic medal and Super Bowl ring in the same year. Michael played for the 49ers from 1984-92 and collected three Super Bowl rings and three Pro Bowl selections during that time.

With a track record like that of her father’s, it’s no wonder that the Red Raider has been a winner throughout her collegiate career.

Carter never really understood what it was that her father did until junior high school, but as any intelligent athlete would do, she used her father as a resource for advice and support.

 “He would tell me how he approached track meets or approached different situations,” said the two-time Texas Relays winner. “He just tells me what I need to do basically.”

Her older sister, Michelle, was a standout athlete for the Texas track and field team as she competed in both the shot put and the discus events. Michelle was a 2008 Olympic Team Trials champion, a 2006 NCAA Indoor champion in the shot put event, a runner-up in the 2005 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor event, and maybe her biggest accolade to date, she won the first ever gold medal in women’s shot put for Team USA at the 2004 World Junior Championships.

The girls have become each other’s biggest fans and support over the years and although they pride themselves in different events. D’Andra’s strengths lie in the discus throw and Michelle’s strengths in the shot put, they want the other to perform well at all times.
Older sister Michelle was always willing and able to help her younger sister out during her early collegiate years because she already had some experience under her belt. The two used one another’s advice to soar each other past their competition.

“We have our different strengths but when we are competing against each other, it helped me out a lot because she was two years older than me and had a couple years of experience over me,” said the younger Carter. “Because she is my sister and not just my competition, we can help each other out that way to try and give each other the edge over each other and other people.”

While the two sisters have proven to be competitive athletes, Carter says they never were very competitive with each other growing up. Since those younger days, the two have become more competitive with each other but when off the field it goes back to sisterhood.
“Competition wise, she’s still my sister and I’m still her sister so yeah we still compete against each other,” said the Red Raider standout. “But outside of actual competition it’s nothing, we don’t even thinking about it.”

Being the humble and gracious champion that she is, Carter credits her determination, success and abilities to the man upstairs.

“I credit God because I know that without Him there’s no way I could have done anything, I probably wouldn’t even be here honestly,” she said. “He has blessed me in so many different ways, people would not even understand. I attribute everything to Him because without Him I would be nothing.”

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