Colyer sets the pace; sets PA Invite record as she prepares for another state appearance
By KIPP ROBERTSON
North Kitsap Herald Education/Sports Reporter
April 1, 2011 · Updated 11:34 AM
NORTH KITSAP — During the day, Reagan Colyer spends her time at West Sound Academy. As the day transitions into after-school activities, she transfers to North Kitsap High School, where her skills as one of the top hurdlers in Division 2A are put to the test.
Colyer, a sophomore, placed in the top 10 of two hurdling events at the state meet last year and she is hoping to use that experience to propel her further this season.
“My goal is to just get as far as I can,” Colyer said after track practice last week. “I want to make every race the best one it can be.”
She’s off to a good start. During the Port Angeles Invitational, Colyer set a PA Invite record, finishing the 100-meter hurdle in 15.83 seconds. The record she broke was set in 1983 by PA’s Darlene Johnson.
The following weekend, she received the “Athlete of the Meet” award at the Kent-Meridian Invitational, where the girls team placed fifth out of 32 teams.
Colyer competes in 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and 400-meter relay split. Last season, she took seventh in the 100m hurdles and ninth in the 300m hurdles.
The 5-foot-10-inch athlete, described by hurdles coach Ken Shawcroft as “mild mannered,” is one of the NK track team’s potentials for returning to state.
Though she runs hurdles and the relay, head coach Dave Snyder said Colyer has the potential to run anything she wants. Despite a few problems at state last season, he said she will continue to dominate.
“She’s definitely a kid that’s going to be top of the class,” he said.
Shawcroft said the hard work Colyer has put into the sport since seventh grade has brought her where she is today. And her coordination and overall awareness during an event are what keep her competing at such a high level, he said.
“She’s hard-working and she loves hurdling,” he said.
It is not uncommon for students to try out for hurdles and move on to another event. A few falls on the hurdles often send potential track athletes to another event, Shawcroft said.
But for the small group of athletes on the NK team, the hurdles have become a welcome challenge.
Colyer began competing as a sprinter. However, after trying hurdles, she quickly changed venues.
Before an event, Colyer likes to plan out how she will run the race, which includes planning her strides between each jump. Making a plan before a race makes it easier for her to compete, she said.
Calculating strides between each set of hurdles is no easy task. Shawcroft said female athletes at a young age tend to have difficulty calculating how many steps to take between each jump. This is typically caused by a short stride length, and the goal of three strides between hurdles is difficult to accomplish, he said.
Colyer, however, made the transition last season with little trouble.
“That makes a big difference,” Shawcroft said, adding that girls taking more than three strides per hurdle are slowing themselves down. “It can also be very psychological.”
Colyer follows her sister Shaylin’s footsteps on the NK track team. Her sister, who graduated two years ago, competed on the team and Colyer said it inspired her to join.
Though Colyer said she likes to take her season one day at a time, she has developed a kind of statistical obsession.
Before and after races, she checks her times on www.athletic.net, comparing them to her competition. She enjoys seeing how the other athletes fare and is constantly keeping track of who she will face later in the season.
In order to return to state and possibly exceed last season’s results, Shawcroft said Colyer needs to be more aggressive earlier in her races. However, this can be difficult to learn, since she is most often racing against her own times during the regular season, he said.
“I tend to get really nervous at big races,” Colyer said. “Last year I was kind of a basket case. But now that I have that under my belt, it should be easier to not get so uptight.”Contact North Kitsap Herald Education/Sports Reporter Kipp Robertson at email@example.com or (360) 779-4464.