In the time it takes to say that aloud, six of the nine state qualifiers in the 5A 300m hurdles hit the finish line together after racing for just about 45 seconds.
The difference — tenths of a second — is what hurdlers such as Mansfield Summit’s Elizabeth Adeoye have been working to shave off their times.
Going into the state meet in Austin, Adeoye had the second-fastest time of the field of nine. She had established her personal best time of 45.1 in the district meet. The fastest time of the qualifiers was 44.9 by the runner from Corpus Christi Flour Bluff.
I can do more my (senior) year. I know how to work and what to do when I get there and how to use my speed.
- Summit’s Elizabeth Adeoye
Adeoye’s best time prior to her new mark was 45.8. She didn’t make it to Austin last year.
She knew at the regional meet last year she’d need a better PR to qualify for state, but she was content with how she performed as a sophomore.
Now in her junior year, Adeoye has the confidence to compete on the big stage but doesn’t take anything for granted.
Looking at the other qualifiers’ times, she feels good about her opportunity but she holds onto a nugget of advice.
“Coach (Shannon Utley) told me anything can happen. You can’t be surprised when another person shows up. You have to keep the mindset that everyone’s competition,” Adeoye said.
In fact, after winning the district meet in the 300m hurdles, Adeoye finished second at the area meet to a runner from Lancaster but got her rhythm back to win the regional meet.
Adeoye in fact finished eighth at the state meet. She had the lead over the first three hurdles but couldn’t keep the rhythm and pace the rest of the way.
Still, not bad for an athlete that has been running the hurdles for just two years.
“It took me forever to get it down,” Adeoye said of mastering the combined skills of speed and accurately leaping 10 hurdles. “It took me all summer trying to get the hang of it.”
Adeoye said she started learning how to hurdle when she was training for a heptathlon, which included a 100m hurdles event.
What she’s learned in that short time is that the key is a good start out of the blocks and good timing to hit eight steps between each hurdle so as to not have to take stutter-steps.
“To me, it’s all technique. Some can get away by being fast, but I can use technique,” she said.
Of course, Adeoye has plenty of speed, too, as she also competes during the season in the 100m and the 4x400m relay.
Her goals were to hit a 45 at the first meet of the season and drop her time from there. Although she ran a 46, she said it kept her motivated, knowing there were plenty more meets ahead of her.
As a junior, Adeoye knows there’s more to achieve, including working toward her hope to run at the collegiate level. She’s also targeting the school record of 44.01.
“I can do more my (senior) year,” she said. “I know how to work and what to do when I get there and how to use my speed.”
But for now, there’s jewelry on her mind.
“I’ve always wanted a state ring,” she said. “It’s always on my mind.”