Dana Streeter has taken the blocks for the 100-meter high hurdles and 100 dash more than 80 times in her star-studded career.
Not once, though, has the Wallace High School senior false-started. Practice appears to be a different story, however.
“I (false-start) all the time in practice; it’s weird,” Streeter said. “I think I anticipate a lot in practice. But, when I’m in the blocks in a race, I don’t think about it (false starting).”
So much for the proverb that you perform how you practice.
The most likely reason Streeter doesn’t jump the gun when it counts most is that she’s generally distracted.
“I usually feel sick because I’m nervous,” she said, smiling, well, nervously. “But that’s a good sign. Nerves win it for me. When I’m totally freaking, I race well.”
Streeter faces four more races when she makes her fourth and final trip to Boise this weekend for the State A-3 track and field meet.
As she completed her final practices this week, she took nothing for granted. She worked on conditioning, she walked through her steps and technique over the hurdles and she crouched in the blocks.
She visualized her state races. She sees herself adding to her gold-medal collection.
Streeter will be out to capture a third straight state title in the 100 hurdles and a second consecutive state crown in the long jump.
“She’s been there before; she’s really much more relaxed this season,” her coach, Dave Rounds, said.
Although her primary goal is to repeat, Streeter has another dream. She wants to break the State A-3 record in the hurdles (15.16).
She came oh-so-close last year, when she clocked 15.23. She hopes to post a time in the 14s.
“That’s been my goal all year, all through high school. I was under 15 at the Super-1 (Invitational),” Streeter said of her winning 14.97 time. “But I want to be well under 15.”
She has cut nearly a second off her hurdles time since she posted 16.16 to finish second at state as a freshman.
Streeter felt she should have been in the mid-14s by now, which is both a testament to her ability to win state titles and to the fact that she hasn’t had the necessary coaching for her event.
It’s not something she’s bitter about. She realizes that it’s part and parcel for most small schools. Not every track coach is a specialized track coach at tiny schools.
“It’s sad to say, but I could have been better if I had had some coaching,” Streeter said. “I really think I should have been running better.”
She received some critical attention two weeks ago when she attended a practice at Kellogg. A coach videotaped her in the hurdles, and she was startled by what she saw on the tape.
“It was hilarious, really. I’m still making so many mistakes,” she said. “I was coming over the hurdles and landing flat-footed and leaning backwards. I should be landing on the ball of my foot and leaning forward.”
She’s worked on the flaw, among other things. Her potential remains largely untapped, something she hopes to discover more fully when she attends the University of Nevada-Reno on scholarship next year.
Streeter smiles, though, when she remembers her freshman year. As a very raw hurdler, she was told by a former coach that she would win several state titles before her career was over.
“I remember that. My only goal then was just to make it to state,” Streeter said. “Winning state was beyond my imagination. Hey, I was a freshman and all I was used to was junior-high meets.”
She hopes to break her personal best (17-5-3/4) in the long jump. In fact, she wouldn’t be surprised if she popped an 18-footer at state.
The State A-3 record - and overall state record - is most likely out of reach at 18-10.
To set state and personal records, though, Streeter will need to be pushed. A look at state-qualifying marks in the hurdles and long jump shows that Streeter may get the competition she wants.
“I don’t know what it is - it must be psychological,” Streeter said, “but when there’s some competition, I run faster and jump farther.”
Which is bad news for her competitors.
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