Keller Fossil Ridge sprinter Sean Hooper is setting personal records. He’s happy about that, but nowhere near where he wants to be.
The senior enjoyed a banner day this past weekend at the Jesuit-Sheaner Relays, when he set his personal best in the 200 meters (21.38) and the 400 (46.42).
“Honestly, they were both good times,” Hooper said. “To open with a 46.41 and 21.38 are some really good things. I really don’t have any goals on times I want to run. I just want to keep running faster.”
Driving this will to improve is the painful memory of a false start.
Last year at the Region I meet in Lubbock, Hooper’s hopes of going to the Class 6A state track and field meet were cut short when he was disqualified for starting too soon in the finals of the 400. Hooper has never competed at the state meet. The sting from that moment has lingered for 11 months.
“I never false-started in my life, and when that happened it really hurt,” Hooper said. “I’ve thought about that for a long time.”
Maybe that’s what made the Jesuit performances even more rewarding. Competing against some talented runners from notable area powers in Allen and DeSoto, Hooper was relentless, especially when he finished. He was stronger and created a little separation.
“Honestly, I wasn’t sure how he was going to do,” Fossil Ridge coach Stanley Moss said. “But then when I watched him, I could tell that it was not as fast he could run and as hard as he could run. That’s how much of a talent he is.”
Moss said he has chosen his moments this season on when to use Hooper. It hasn’t been for all of Fossil Ridge’s meets. But the season starts to hit the stretch drive in April with the district, area and regional events. The state track and field meet is May 11-13 in Austin.
Much of the focus throughout the offseason has been improving his strength. He’s also been working on his start. For someone his height at 6-3, there is a longer torso to unwind to get into the crux of the heat.
Hooper has worked with his uncle, Nikia, on a demanding training schedule. There is a lot of hill work involved where the muscle fatigue is only outmatched by the mental fatigue.
“I just have to make certain I stick to my routine,” Hooper said. “What we’ve done is get to a point where you have to have your muscles keep firing even when you’re tired.”
Hooper’s strength isn’t limited to just those two events. When asked to step in and compete in the 800 at Southlake Carroll’s meet earlier this spring, all he did was deliver a school-record time of 1:58.
Moss said he is also looking at putting Hooper in at least the 4x200 relay. There could be more events, but it really depends on how the relay teams look. The beauty of it is that relays can change from week to week until the right chemistry is found.
Hooper will continue his track career in college at Texas Tech. The native of Jacksonville, Florida, who moved to Texas in 2012, signed with the Red Raiders over Florida, LSU, Alabama and Miami.