A Legacy athlete may well be one the track community keeps an eye on in the coming years.
Ja’Leesa Giles of Legacy recently completed her sophomore season, bringing home two medals at the UIL 5A state track and field meet in Austin.
Giles picked up a third-place medal in the 200m dash and a fourth-place finish in the 100m.
Although the 200m is what she considers her stronger event, Giles said she ran a 24.56 compared to her personal best of 24.16.
The first- and second-place finishers ran a 24.46, with both of those runners being seniors.
In the 100m, she broke her previous personal best time, running a 11.95. Her time was just .02 behind third place. All three finishers in front of Giles were seniors.
“That was the goal – to make it to state,” Giles said. “Medaling was surprising, but I had run better during the season,” she added, specifically referencing her 200 times.
In her freshman year, Giles was turned away from qualifying for the state meet in the regional finals.
She came away with the knowledge and experience, though, of what to expect at the state meet competition.
For now, Giles said she will concentrate on training for the summer season. Her first meet will be June 14.
And she doesn’t expect the summer months to be a time of just maintaining her conditioning.
“I will run just the 100 and 200, but I want to hit 11.7 and a mid-23 second,” she said.
While she’ll stay busy working with a personal coach through the summer, that won’t be the only sport Giles will be working on.
Also a member of the Lady Broncos volleyball team, Giles will be getting ready for the team tryouts, which will commence in early August.
“I train when I can,” Giles said. “I just stay moving.”
Giles started running at Donna Shepard Intermediate School.
“When my mom and I saw how well I was doing, we thought, ‘We can do this sport,’” she said.
Once Giles hit sixth grade, she started working with the Mansfield Express and had some continued success, going to a state meet in the 4x100m relay and 200m in Corpus Christi and taking gold in both events.
Giles’ mother had run track during her school days and knew a few things she was able to pass along to her daughter.
Knowing it would be a harder level of competition in high school, Giles put in the work to make her freshman year a good one.
She also competes on the 4x400 and 4x100 relays for the Lady Broncos, running the anchor leg.
Legacy girls track coach Lacy Beckler feels Giles is well-positioned to continue an upward trajectory on the track.
“She is very poised and mature for her age,” Beckler said. “The season started off decent but she progressively got better week after week after focusing on work ethic, mechanics, and then fine-tuning the small weaknesses in her races. She had a goal and she didn’t let anyone keep her from it.”
No doubt, higher goals will be set by Giles.
“I know my times could have been a lot better,” Giles said of her state meet appearance. “It will stick in my mind until I get there next year.”