Alicia Lawrence is more than just a top sprinter on the James Irwin track and field team, she's part athlete, part coach.
When the Jaguars' coach left at the beginning of the season, the school was left scrambling to find someone to oversee the team. Terrie Chandler, whose son is a freshman on the boys' squad, joined forces with Diane Harris (another parent of someone on the team) and Astrid Lescott (a former runner at Palmer) to coach the team.
Chandler, who ran cross country when she was in high school, said Lawrence has been a tremendous help.
'Having Alicia on the team is amazing because she is such a leader and mentor to all of the younger kids, ' Chandler said. 'She has stepped up to the plate to help everyone out, and having her here has been a blessing. '
Lawrence's performance on the track equals her mentoring off it.
She won the 100 and 200 meter dashes at Saturday's El Paso County Small Schools Championship. Her 100 meter time of 12.79 seconds was the fourth best in 3A this season.
She also helped the 4X200-meter relay team to the fourth fastest time (1:48.48) posted in 3A this year.
'I think the 200 is my best event because it gives me more time to gain speed, ' Lawrence said. 'I'm staying really focused this season and I'm very confident. '
On a team which is 75 percent freshmen, the example Lawrence sets is priceless to Chandler and the rest of the makeshift coaching staff.
'Without her leading the team we'd have to be Googling the right way to do some things in practice around here, ' Chandler said half-jokingly.
For the Jaguars, it is the third coaching staff in under a year. Making practice harder is the fact that James Irwin doesn't have an actual track surface to practice on, using the soccer field instead.
Running at meets on a real track is a treat for Lawrence and her teammates.
'The meets really help us to get the experience of what it feels like to run on the track instead of turf, ' she said. 'It's a different feel and it's good for the younger kids to get used to it. '
But Chandler says the track isn't the only place her star sprinter thrives. Lawrence is already getting college attention for her athletic ? and academic ? abilities.
'She's excellent in the classroom and that ability carries out onto the track, ' Chandler said. 'She's an incredible runner and I'm in awe every time I watch her run. '
justin shaw, THE GAZETTE
The Sky Sox will host the year-end banquet for the Peak Performers athletes of the year per sports season and overall male and female athletes of the school year on June 10.