News and Tribune

Clark County Sports

April 17, 2013

H.S. GIRLS' TRACK & FIELD: Henryville's Spears gaining speed, confidence

Big improvements have made junior area's top distance runner

HENRYVILLE — Henryville’s Sadie Spears has been in hot pursuit of the area's best runners since the first day of her freshman year.

Now the everyone is chasing her.

Spears won the 3,200-meter run at the Jeffersonville Inferno meet on April 6. She then swept the 1,600 and 3,200 at last Thursday's Floyd Central Invitational.

Those meets included every accomplished distance runner in the area, except for the injured Phoebe Bauer. The fields included three strong runners from Floyd Central, including 2012 News and Tribune Cross Country Runner of the Year Lydia Kotowski, Bauer's New Albany teammates Bailey Knable and Rose Kaforski, and Brittany Sharp and Mackenzie Crouch from Silver Creek.

At Floyd Central, the 5-foot-1 Spears edged Floyd's Madison Barney to win the 1,600 in 5:36. She then ran away from the field, including Kotowski, to take the 3,200 title in 12:08 — 12 seconds faster than runner-up Sharp.

"I think I just have a lot more confidence than I did last year," Spears explained. "I've been beating girls that last year would normally kill me. After doing that a few times, I gained some confidence."

"I think the Floyd Central meet really helped her confidence," Conrad said. "That was a big confidence booster for her. She looked strong in those two races. Those were two good performances in one night."

Spears had an excellent cross country season as a junior, capturing the Southwestern Sectional championship for the first time and advancing to semistate with a sixth-place finish at the Brown County Regional.

Her 3.1-kilometer times improved by about two minutes from her previous year's sectional and regional pace.

"In cross country she improved a lot, which boosted her confidence a lot for track season," said Hornet sophomore Megan O'Lone, who is one of the most improved middle-distance runners in the area. "I think that's made her work even harder."

"She's definitely more mature and understands things a lot better from the aspect of having a strategy going into a race now," Conrad said. "It's been neat to see her develop into one of the [area's top distance runners]."

O'Lone finished seventh at the Floyd Invitational and has been coming on strong during her sophomore season. At least part of her improvement has been thanks to Spears' leadership.

"I look up to her," O'Lone said. "She's a great role model. She works hard and she gives it all she's got."

Spears didn't run the 3,200 at last year's sectional because she was needed for the 1,600 relays. Since the relays and the two-miler are run so close together in the sectional lineup, competing in both would be a nearly impossible task.

The strategy paid off. Spears combined with O'Lone, Maggie Gilstrap and Jasmine Harrell to win the Jeffersonville Sectional championship in the 1,600 relay.

This year's plan doesn't include relays for Spears. She's putting her full attention on winning the 1,600 and the 3,200 sectional championships and eventually advancing to the state finals.

"She has high expectations — and she should," Conrad said. "She's an excellent runner and she knows what she wants. She's one of those kids you want to coach. She's going to give you everything she has, whether it's cross country, basketball or track."

"At sectional, I plan on running the mile and the two mile and advancing to regional and state," Spears said. "I want to go undefeated, at least until regional. I think I can get to state."

After practice Tuesday, Conrad told Spears the time to get to state is approximately 11 minutes and 40 seconds. When she was told that means she still has to cut off 28 seconds from her best time, her answer was, "So?"

Now that's confidence.

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