Northeast Tarrant

Player Spotlight: Leisa VanVooren, L.D. Bell

Sport: Track and field

Class: Senior

Events: 400 meters, 800 meters, 4x400 relay.

Her story: When Leisa VanVooren injured her hamstring a few weeks ago at the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Relays, there was a question as to whether she’d ever run in high school again. Not only did the L.D. Bell senior return, she won the 800-meter dash at the District 7-6A meet and broke her own school record in the event with a time of 2:21.03. The win at district qualified her for the Area 7-8 6A Meet, where she set another record with a time of 2:20.6 to win again. Now comes the Region I Meet at the University of Texas-Arlington May 1-2, where a top-two finish will guarantee her a berth at the Class 6A State Meet at the University of Texas in Austin May 15-16. VanVooren was also part of the record-setting 4x400 relay that posted a time of 4:03.08 last season at the regional meet. She has signed to Oklahoma Christian University next season. “I had a few schools that I was very interested in, but Oklahoma Christian gave me an offer that I couldn’t pass up,” she said. “When I visited the campus and met the coach I knew this is exactly where God wanted me to be.” She plans on majoring in education at OKC. She wants to be an elementary school teacher. “Also, when I get older I want to coach,” VanVooren said. “I think I would go crazy if I wasn’t around sports. It is all I know and what I have grown up doing.”

Fun fact: VanVooren was selected to compete in the Skills Challenge at halftime of the 2010 Rookie Game during NBA All-Star Weekend at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

She said: “I have been praying a lot and have been going to rehab three times a week. I was determined to get back on the track. At our district meet, I ran with my heart and wasn’t ready for this to be my last high school race.”

Coach Gerald Smith said: “For her to come out and go 2:21 (at district) says a lot about her heart,” L.D. Bell head track coach Gerald Smith

- Rick Mauch