Burleson long distance runner setting the pace for Austin

Posted Thursday, May. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Burleson’s Jessica Prickett has won gold medals, trophies and earned a full scholarship to Texas Tech due to her accomplishments as a long distance runner, but the one thing missing from her high school résumé is a state title.

That could change if all goes according to plan Friday at the UIL Class 4A state track and field meet at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, where Prickett is a favorite in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.

“So many of these girls have performed well in the past, but I’ve been getting better and better and most of these girls are staying the same,” Prickett said. “This is my time now. It’s the last race of high school. I have to perform and just give it my all.”

Prickett is no stranger to the big stage. She finished seventh in the 3,200 last year in Austin, and was third at the state cross country meet in November.

The two races Friday are a culmination of years of dedication, which led Prickett to manage her diet, sleeping patterns and workouts all toward becoming a better runner.

Burleson cross country and long distance coach Ken Edwards said he’s never seen another runner improve so dramatically from year to year. According to Edwards, Prickett has shaved a minute off her time in the 3,200 every year and dropped almost 30 seconds off her 1,600 time from a season ago.

“She just has a love for running that has caused her to excel,” Edwards said. “If she needs to run two workouts a day, she runs that. Whatever it takes for her to improve, she works at those things.”

Prickett’s seed times of 10 minutes, 45.89 seconds in the 3,200 and 4:57.92 in the 1,600 are both the tops in the state, but Prickett knows she’ll have to be at her best to win two gold medals. The last time she raced at Myers Stadium was at the Texas Relays in March, when she turned in a personal best of 10:26.57 in the 3,200.

“All of the girls, my competition, we all race differently, all have different strategies and we’re all different runners,” Prickett said. “It’s really going to come down to who wants it the most, and I want it pretty bad. I know everyone else does too, so the pressure’s on.”

Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret

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