A Commitment to Speed

February marks the beginning of spring training for most athletes, but seniors Tessa  and Dionne  began preparing for the track season in mid-November. Since they were not allowed to train with Hockaday Varsity Track Coach LaBoris Bean because of Southwest Preparatory Conference regulations, Tessa and Dionne, along with several other Hockaday track members, trained with Coaches Larry Jackson and Craig Isaac as part of the Track Dallas team.
Coach Bean “encourages the girls to join a [winter track] team” if they are not participating in a Hockaday winter sport.
Although their winter team was not associated with Hockaday, the girls had the opportunity to compete in indoor meets with teammates from various public schools and non-SPC private schools, such as Ursuline Academy.
Beginning with strength training and plyometrics, including jumping and speed endurance, the athletes soon worked their way up to running short distances. Having both competed with the Hockaday cross-country team in the fall, Tessa and Dionne agree that the two sports are “so different.” After training for the long strides required to complete 2-mile and 5K cross-country races, Tessa says, “You forget how to sprint.”
“Coming into track [from cross-country], you feel so slow,” Dionne adds. Cross-country “is difficult but it’s just not working the same muscles.”
Coach Bean says that winter training is “a great transition for the girls” who run cross country in the fall and track in the spring.
Dionne, a short-distance sprinter, trained for the 60-meter dash since 100-meter tracks were not available at Jefferson High School or Southern Methodist University, where the girls practiced.
“You will be left in the dust if you aren’t fast,” she says of the 60-meter race. “There is not even a chance for you to speed up because it is so short.”
From their time in winter training, Tessa and Dionne agree that they have gained confidence through competing with public school athletes.
“Usually, public school competition is really intimidating, but we’ve already been running with them,” says Tessa. “When we get to the private school division, it will seem easy [in comparison].”
“It feels good to go to a 5A indoor meet [with] teams like Dallas Gold and Lancaster Lightning and actually be able to hold your ground,” Dionne says.
Looking ahead to the spring track season, both Tessa and Dionne look forward to winning races.
“We’ve never won SPC, so that’s a goal,” Tessa says.To lead the team in the right direction, Tessa hopes to bring “more of a team feeling to track” since it is such an individual sport.
As a new coach who began working at Hockaday after Spring Break of 2010, Coach Bean “wants to open up the doors” to a more successful season by “pushing them in the right direction.” Dionne believes the team definitely has a shot at SPC this year.
“The talent has always been there, it’s just a matter of directing it and using it to its best ability,” she says.