CENTERTON -- If everything goes as planned today, Grace Posey won't have any problem keeping herself busy.
The Bentonville West sophomore could run as many as six times when she competes in the Class 7A state track and field championships, which will be held in Bryant. Posey is scheduled to run the 100 and 200 meters and hopes to qualify for the finals in both events, then she could have a leg in the Lady Wolverines' 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.
Class 7A State Track and Field Championships
WHERE Hornet Stadium, Bryant
LAST YEAR’S CHAMPIONS Boys — Bentonville High; Girls — Fayetteville
10:30 a.m.: Finals in girls pole vault, discus and long jump and boys shot put, triple jump and high jump
12:30 p.m.: Running prelims in girls 100-meter hurdles, boys 110 hurdles, 100, 4x100 relay and 200, and the finals for the 4x800 relay (Note: A 15-minute break will take place between the 4x100 relay and the 200.)
2:30 p.m.: Boys pole vault
3:30 p.m.: Finals in girls shot put, triple jump and high jump and boys discus and long jump
5:30 p.m.: Running finals
"She's definitely going to get some work," West girls track coach Todd Boddie said. "We may see how she feels after the 200 to see if she will run the 4x400, but everything is open right now. This is the last meet of the season, so she's got to go for it all."
Boddie had similar plans for Posey during last year's meet at Springdale Har-Ber, especially since she was brought up to the high school ranks as a freshman. However, nothing went as planned because she suffered a leg injury and was forced to pull up during the 100-meter prelims.
She finished that race despite her injury, and her time of 13.73 seconds missed qualifying for the finals by .06 seconds. Her day was eventually done after that, and that incident has been part of her motivation going into this year's state meet.
"Just watching all those runners last year, I knew I would have to work hard to get back to state so I could redeem myself," Posey said. "I've thought about last year's meet a lot because I want to go back and place this year. I've been working hard to make my legs stronger and make sure it doesn't happen again."
The extra work Posey has put in during the offseason and in practice sessions have served her well as she has become one of the state's top sprinters this spring. Her best time in the 100 was a wind-aided 11.99 seconds she ran during the Lion Invitational at Gravette, and her best 200 time of 25.51 seconds is also among this year's top performances.
Much of her work leading up to the state meet has been the start of the races and getting out of the blocks quicker. Even though it was a slower time, she said she was happy with last week's performance at the 7A-West Conference meet, where she ran the 100 in 12.09 seconds during the prelims.
"Grace proved last year that she could run at this level," Boddie said. "When she made it to state, it proved she could handle the task then.
"She's a totally different runner this year. There were times last year when we had to explain our work sessions and why they work, and now she embraces the training and makes sure she's doing the work. Her work ethic has really improved this year, and she's stepped it up a lot."
That work has also helped the Lady Wolverines produce one of the state's best 4x100 relay teams. Posey is joined by Winnie Spurlock, Bailye Pratt and Chloe Mahone in that group, which has produced a season-best time of 48.21 seconds.
Even with the success that she has enjoyed in the individual events, Posey admits her favorite races are those relay events with her teammates.
"The 4x100 is a really fun race," said Posey, who runs the second leg in that event. "You can really feel the adrenaline rushing, and you feel like your team is relying on you.
"While I'm running, I'm feeling really good. I'm thinking I have to beat all these girls so I can help my teammates get first place."
Henry Apple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NWAHenry.
Print Headline: West's Posey wants plenty of reasons to run