May 1, 2009
CALEDONIA -- Jelisha Hackman has explosion.
Typically, though, when you compete in the 100 meters you''re pushing off a block fastened to the track at the start of a race.
Hackman''s propulsion in the sprint comes from a standing start, in part because of the lack of track and field facilities at Caledonia High School.
But Hackman, just like many of her teammates, has learned to live and to succeed with what she doesn''t have.
Last week at the Class 4A regional meet at Pearl High, Hackman qualified in three individual events and in one relay for the Class 3A/4A North Half meet at Oxford High.
"I like to run. People say I am fast, so I think the track is a good place for me to be," said Hackman, who also plays basketball for the high school team.
Hackman, a sophomore, qualified in the 100, the 400, the triple jump (fourth-place finish), and in the 4x400 relay with teammates Jessica Comer, Glenda Rhone, and Brooke Lester.
She credits her five brothers, especially Javario Hackman, and her two sisters for helping to push her to go faster.
Caledonia High track and field coach James Reed said Hackman''s time of 12.8 in the 100 was within a half a second of the leaders from a standing start and after she false stepped. He said Hackman never has gotten used to running out of a block because she doesn''t have an opportunity to use one at the school when she practices.
Reed said the team has blocks but it doesn''t have a track to fasten them to to help the sprinters duplicate optimum conditions.
"Jelisha runs with a lot of heart," Reed said. "Most of these kids because of our facilities understand we don''t have good stuff."
Reed chastised himself for not putting Hackman in the 200, an event he said she easily could qualify for the state meet.
In the 100 last week, he said Hackman was picking up the pace at the end of the race, which is a testament to her speed, especially since she is starting the sprint from an upright position.
"She is just a gutsy performer," Reed said. "She has explosion. It is just from a standing start."
Hackman qualified in the 400 with a time of 1 minute, 2 seconds. She also delivered an anchor leg of less than a minute that helped the 4x400-meter relay team record its fastest time of the season (4:25) and secure a spot at the North Half meet, even though Vicksburg edged it at the end of the race for a better finish.
Reed said the 4x400 time was even more impressive when you consider Hackman had already qualified in three events, Comer had already run three and a half miles, Rhone already had long jumped and high jumped, and Lester had run the two-mile. He said Hackman''s competitive spirt and distaste for losing helped her dip into her reserves on her anchor leg.
"She can be whatever she wants to be in track," Reed said. "She would have qualified in the 200, and probably have a better chance qualifying in the 200 than the 100 for the state meet considering she is not using blocks."
Hackman hopes to continue to improve to earn a scholarship to compete in track and field in college. She believes she has a lot of potential, especially if Reed continues to motivate and to encourage her.
"Track and field is very good for me because it is better doing sports than being in trouble like other kids," Hackman said.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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