Vanessa Lane is fast.
But there is more to this sophomore phenom then just natural speed.
There is her work ethic, strength and a desire to go faster.
Pequot Lakes head girls track and field coach Brian Kazmierczak called Lane the hardest-working athlete he’s been around.
“She works harder than anyone else,” said the coach. “Overall, she’s such a great example to our other kids because she puts the time in to get better.”
Lane worked all summer getting out of the starting blocks. Kazmierczak said that’s been her biggest improvement so far. She visited the weight room four times a week. She went to a track and field specific summer camp.
“I’ve coached track for 12 years now and she’s the first athlete that I have had that has gone and sought out summer camps and gone back more than once,” Kazmierczak said. “Plus, she’s pulling teammates with her.
“I’ve been the head coach here for three years and I do things a different way. What we’re seeing is the athletes finally taking ownership of this program and that’s one thing she’s done really well. My expectations of her were to be more of a vocal leader and for her expectations of herself to be the team expectations. I’m as proud of her than anything for her willingness to become more of a leader on this team.
“Her teammates understand that she is successful because she puts in the time and she has high expectations of herself and of her teammates, too. That carries over to the other athletes. She’s a quiet person, but when she speaks the kids listen.”
Sometimes actions speak louder than words.
Lane won the 60-meter dash in 8.09 and the 200 dash in 27.00 during the Paul Bunyan Invite March 27 at Bemidji State University. She also helped Pequot’s 4x200 relay to second place with a time of 1:52.59 to earn meet most valuable athlete honors.
During the April 5 Pierz Invite, Lane won the 100 dash in 12.91 the 200 dash in 26.99 and the 400 dash in 1:02.16.
“I was really working on my form last offseason,” said Lane. “It wasn’t as good as it is this year. I really worked on my explosion out of the blocks. I was also working on getting my stride longer and my form better.”
Last season, Lane anchored the Class 1A state champion 4x100 relay team that consisted of Rachel Allen, Kendra Johnson and Nicole Traut. She also advanced to state in the open 100 dash.
“I learned a lot last year and brought back a lot of confidence,” said Lane. “The biggest thing for me and the other girls was not to be so nervous. Obviously you’re going to be a little nervous and that’s normal. It was exciting to go to state and go up against different people and against real good competition.”
The three-year varsity runner will be taking her talents Down Under this summer. Lane will head to Australia as part of the National North Central Conference track and field team, which will participate in the National Down Under International Games Tri-Nations Meet in Sydney.
Lane’s success could be traced to her passion for a sport that is often overlooked by most high school athletes when it’s not in season.
“This is my favorite sport so I have a lot of goals,” she said. “I hope to get into the Hamline Elite meet. I want to be a role model for the younger girls because we have a bunch of new track girls. I want to go back to state in the 4x100 and other relays, plus a couple of single events.
“But I really want to just keep improving.”
Other notable performances:
Softball: Jordy Schluttner, Verndale, finished 2-4 with three RBIs against Sebeka.
Miranda Woitalla, Pierz, went 3-3 with a double and a run scored against Mora.
Elizabeth Tomala, Pierz, went 4-4 with two runs scored against Little Falls.
Track and field: Sienna Miller, Crosby-Ironton, won the long and triple jumps in the Ranger Invite.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5856.