By Jim Irish
Photos by Jim Irish
When Bastrop High School sprinter Jaden Carter requires tweaking her form, she turns for advice to her older sister, Glorilisha “LeLe” Carter.
LeLe, a first-year track coach at Bastrop, was a standout sprinter herself in high school and later at Texas A&M. In her senior year in high school, she captured gold in the 200-meter dash in 24.59 seconds at the Class 4A state track meet in 2014. At Texas A&M, she was a member of the 1,600 relay that took fourth place at the NCAA Outdoors Championships in 2017.
Both sisters possess fast-twitch muscle, which dominates the sprint events.
Jaden, a 5-foot-5 senior, took first place in the 100-meter dash in 12.24 seconds at last week’s Class 5A area meet in Georgetown. She was also entered in the 200 but scratched because of a slight hamstring pull in her left leg.
“I actually pulled up in the last four meters (in the 100) because I felt a pull,” Jaden said. “So I slowed down.”
Jaden has been dealing with the hamstring problem since last season. She said it healed but has resurfaced. As a result, she is striding in practice this week in an effort to not aggravate it and also receiving medical treatment. Before her sophomore season, she tore her ACL in AAU basketball and had surgery. She eventually ended a promising basketball career to focus on track.
Jaden is currently training primarily on her start out of the blocks in the 100.
“I’ve been working on getting my knees down at the start,” she said. “That’s been improving my times. I used to run with my legs out, and that slowed me down.”
In addition, she propels herself out of the blocks at the gun and keeps her head down for the first 10 meters. Keeping one’s head down allows a sprinter to more efficiently apply power in a forward motion.
LeLe has been adjusting Jaden’s start, with the emphasis on exploding off the front leg instead of the back leg.
"... The start is looking pretty fine. She's ready to go."
-- LeLe Carter speaking about her sister, Jaden
“She’s been applying that, and the start is looking pretty fine,” LeLe said. “She’s ready to go.”
Jaden has clocked a personal best of 11.9 in the 100 and will certainly have to reach that time to advance to the finals of the Region 3 meet at Turner Stadium in Humble on Saturday. Preliminaries are scheduled for Friday.
"My goal is to stay strong, stay healthy, and make it to state,” LeLe said.
Bastrop’s Cole Widner is competing in his third region meet. Widner, a 6-2 senior, is entered in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.
He was second in a PR of 15.02 in the 110 hurdles at the area meet and third in the 300s in 41.32. His PR in the 300 of 40.1 was set early in the season.
"... I think I'm definitely at my best right now in my form."
-- Bastrop hurdler Cole Widner
Widner, who started competing in the hurdles in middle school, said he’s better at the 300 hurdles. He only began the 110 hurdles two years ago.
Form over the hurdles is crucial, Widner said, “(but) it’ll never be perfect. I think I’m definitely at my best right now in my form.”
In both events, he takes eight steps to the first hurdle. In the 110s, most athletes take four steps, but he needs only three because his stride is “long enough.”
At region, he’d like to clock 14.8 in the 110 and high 39 in the 300.
“I think my my goal is to get to state,” said Widner, who has been accepted at Sam Houston State and plans to compete in track.
Other Bastrop individuals competing at region are Levi Nichols, 200; Jaden Michael, pole vault; Cooper Lovelace, discus; Za’Myra Binon, girls discus; and Grace Sagebiel, girls shot put.
Bastrop girls are competing in the 400, 800, and 1,600 relays. Bastrop boys are entered in the 800 relay.
Cedar Creek boys are entered in the 400 relay.
Jim Irish is a freelance writer in Bastrop, Texas