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On the Go to the Hall of Fame

Sep 10, 2022

Editor's Note: The following story is part of a series highlighting the members of the 2022 Washington State Athletic Hall of Fame Class. The Hall of Fame induction will take place, Sept. 16-17, at the Washington State University campus. The induction dinner will be held Sept. 16 at Beasley Coliseum with the 2022 class also being recognized at the Washington State-Colorado State football game at Gesa Field the following day. 

Celestine N'Drin traveled the world competing in track and field achieving records at every stop along her journey.

And while she made stops at cities, N'Drin never came close to stopping on the track.

As she said, "I only know 'go.'"

Spanning the globe from the Olympics to Washington State University, N'Drin's latest stop will earn her induction to the Washington State Athletic Hall of Fame, Sept. 16, in Pullman.

From the Ivory Coast, N'Drin was already putting together a decorated career on the track prior to coming to WSU.

"I don't think about the people I'm running against," N'Drin said in a 1986 Daily Evergreen story. "I don't care if they are stronger or have faster times."

She competed at the Racing Club of France while attending the Institute of Sports in Paris and was a member of the Ivory Coast 1984 Olympic team, having already earned the status of Ivory Coast national record-holder in the 400m and 800m events.

Additionally, she won two French junior 800m titles and the African 400m title in 1981 and 1982 as well as the 800m championship the following year.

N'Drin was considering attending the University of Washington, but it was her Olympic teammate and countrymate, and WSU track and field star and future WSU Athletic Hall of Famer, Gabriel Tiacoh, who convinced her to come to WSU.

"Gabriel talked to me about WSU, I was planning on going to Washington," N'Drin said in the Evergreen piece. "I want to succeed in both school and track."

N'Drin did just that competing for WSU.

"Everyone has to run the race so I just run the best I can," N'Drin said.

N'Drin's best established a record-setting career. During her freshman season in 1986, she broke two school records-- 400m and 500y—and also set three separate meet records in the 400m.  

The 400m record came in just the second week of the outdoor season in Corvallis, Ore., when she ran a time of 53.03.

In 1987, N'Drin captured the 800m title at the Pac-12 Championships. The 800m, said N'Drin, was her favorite as she said she ran the 400m to "mainly work on my speed."

N'Drin missed the 1988 outdoor championships to return to the Olympics and compete for the Ivory Coast in the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.

It was there that working on her speed in the 400m paid dividends as N'Drin set the Cougars' all-time mark in the event at 52.04, a time that still stands as the all-time program record.  

She also remains WSU's record holder in the women's 800m after concluding her collegiate career with a time of 2:02.99 at the 1990 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, earning first-team All-American honors as a senior.  

In all, N'Drin ended her WSU career as the first three-time conference champion in women's program history when she won her second 800m Pac-10 title as a senior in 1990.

For a career where she was constantly on the go, N'Drin was immediately grateful for making a stop in Pullman as part of her decorated career.

"I'm very happy I came here," N'Drin said.