Gearing up for track showdown |

Gearing up for track showdown

Eileen JoyceNevada Union's Sara Prout stretches out a lead in the hurdles. Prout and the Miners will be competing today.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Tuesday night, Nevada Union’s girls’ relay quartet of Sarah Prout, Jessica Lorson, Lauren Zealear and Sara Heidelberger got together to paint their nails.

Today, in the subsection track meet at American River College, they have every intention of pasting, not their nails, but the competition.

A bus load of NU track and field athletes and a quartet of Bear River competitors will participate in the two-day subsection meet, which begins with trials at 2 p.m. Wednesday and will conclude with Friday’s finals at ARC, beginning at 2 p.m.

“We are coming into the subsection with a lot more confidence,” said Heidelberger, who ran on both the 4×100 and 4×400 relay events last year as a freshman. “We just ran our (personal records) for both races, so I’m pretty sure it will be a good year.”

The foursome agree that the Meet of Champions competition 12 days ago in Sacramento was the turning point for the Lady Miners’ girls track team, in general. Prout, who had already broken her own record in the 300 hurdles, pushed the school record at Hughes Stadium with a blazing 44.4 seconds. She went on to run the anchor leg for the 4×400 in 56-flat, believed to be the fastest 4×400 split ever run for the Lady Miners as part of the relay team’s record run.

“I am having so much fun this year,” Prout said. “Truthfully, I never expected to run a 44 in the 300. It was a shock. But now I am going for 43. Why stop at 44?”

Last year Prout tried to battle back from a mid-season hip flexor injury. This year she is in full form, not only making the school record in the 300 hurdles her personal plaything, but fully expecting to advance in the 100-meter hurdles and both relay events.

She has been a part of records in three of her four events this season, with only her own school record time in the 100 hurdles eluding her in 2002.

“In the beginning of the year, I sprained an ankle in practice, and for some reason, ever since then I’ve been kind of weird about (the 100 hurdles),” said Prout, a junior. “In the 300, I’m more confident because I have more room to make up if I fall behind. In the 100, I just get too nervous and worked up and don’t do as well.”

The relay quartet entering the subsection meet is looking to not only advance in those two relay races, but in an assortment of other individual events, as well.

Zealear, fresh from last weekend’s three-record setting performance at the Capital Athletic League meet, hopes to advance not only in the two relay races, but in the 400 and 800-meter races, as well.

Though confident going into today’s ARC meet, the four have their superstitions and routines that not only help bond them, but help prepare them for competition.

“With soccer, I’ve always been a little superstitious, but it is different with track,” Zealear said. “We paint our nails for good luck, and make sure to wear silver tights, as well. It prepares us for the event, and I get myself pumped up.”

Lorson – who also qualified in the 200-meter race and high jump – and Heidelberger take a few minutes before relay races to share earphones and listen to music, or participate in a little dance with Zealear and Prout that Lorson came up with.

“It is a tradition,” said Lorson. “At this point, the season is all about focus. I don’t get nervous until sections, and even then, section finals is where we will have to kick it in.”

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