As a young girl, I dreamed of going to the Olympics as a track star.  I figured it would have to be in the 100 yard dash because I just wasn’t fast beyond that.  I tell ya, in grade school I had a mean kick in those last 30 yards.

But as I ran track in high school, I realized I really didn’t like to run THAT much.  100 yards was fine but 200 yards was a killer. So imagine what I thought of the workouts required to run the sprints?  The proof was in the pudding when I joined the golf team the following year. It’s safe to say, I was better suited to the amount of running golf required.

Naturally, I am super excited to have a full fledged track star as one of my 2014 Seniors.  Let me introduce you to, Symone Black, a kind-hearted, Christian young woman with a Godly gift for running and jumping hurdles about the same size as she is.

Symone was already a standout athlete when she joined the Concordia Lutheran High School Track team.  She ended her career at Concordia in 2014 with two State Championship titles (110m & 300m hurdles) and a whole mess of medals along the way.  Those hard earned titles were already on top of an Indiana State title her junior year, making her a repeat Gold Medalist in the 300m hurdles.  Symone also amassed national attention and awards, in addition to earning a full track scholarship to Purdue University last fall.

Now that Symone was in the “big leagues,” I had to wonder how this little fish would do in the Big Ten Pond?  Well, she had a stellar indoor season and capped things off with a 2nd place finish in the 400m dash at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.  Adding to the excitement, she shattered the school record and became the first Boilermaker to run a sub 54 second 400m indoors. It was certainly fitting to read she was later named Freshman of the Year for all of the Big Ten.

This brings us to the end of the 2015 outdoor season.  Just last week at the Big Ten Championship in East Lansing, Symone pulled out a personal best (by 1.25 seconds) in the finals of the 400m hurdles. Coming off the last hurdle in second place, she grinded out a victory over Ohio State’s Alexis Franklin.  I’m guessing her kick in the final 30m was more impressive than mine, as she shattered Purdue’s school record and posted a new personal best of 56.76. A bronze medal that same day, with her 4x400m relay team, is just more icing on her Big Ten cake.

Symone is off to the NCAA Regional Meet in Jacksonville, Florida next week and is a strong candidate to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year for the Outdoor Season.  At 19, her personal best ranks 9th in the country and is just 4 seconds off the World Record. I know, I checked. For a “wan-na-bee” Olympian, such as myself, this is a dream.  For a “prob-a-bly” Olympian like Symone, this is real.

Godspeed at the NCAA Regionals, Symone.  You won’t need it…because you’ve already found it.