As the stages have become more demanding, and the competition more fierce, Dana Maydew figured she was going to have to up the ante in order to keep pace.
Maydew, who will be a junior this fall at Niwot, can thank that attitude for her berth in the National Junior Olympic Track and Field championships this week.
The prestigious event begins Monday in Baltimore, and Maydew will be competing in the 800-meter run in large part because of a decision she made to start taking off on her late kick during her regional races a little earlier than she had previously.
“I’m pretty confident going into this,” Maydew said. “I’ve been training hard and getting more and more comfortable on the track. I tested myself at (regionals) in El Paso. I tried to kick in earlier than I usually do. In the 800, I kicked in with about 150 meters left. Before, I’d do it either at 100 or 120 meters.”
The strategic adjustment paid off for Maydew. At the Region 10 finals in early July, the quicker kick helped her post a personal-best time of 2 minutes, 21 seconds while finishing fourth in a highly competitive 800-meter race in which Maydew finished only 0.11 of a second out of second place.
With that performance in her back pocket, Maydew expects to take a similar approach during the national meet this week. Moreover, although Maydew qualified for nationals last year as part of a relay team, she and her teammates did not make the trip due to a scheduling conflict with one of the other runners.
“That last time, I cut four seconds off my personal-best time,” said Maydew, who spends her summers training with the club Real Training. “Since I’ll be at sea level, I’m confident that I can kick as soon, or maybe even sooner, than last time. This is my last year at the intermediate girls level, and now I’m at the oldest part of the group, so I’m really excited about what I’m going to be able to do.”
Maydew is coming off an impressive high school season in which she helped the Cougars post a school record in the sprint medley, finishing third in Class 4A with a time of 1:48.50. Maydew also was part of three Niwot relay teams that landed spots on the BoCoPreps.com All-Region team.
“I’ve told her that I think she’s capable of a top-eight finish,” said Maurice Henriques, Niwot’s track coach who also doubles as the leader for Real Training. “Her times have been coming down steadily all summer.”
Mead standout sprinter Alex Mead also will be competing at the Junior Olympic nationals this week.
Follow Pat Rooney on Twitter: @prooney07