By Jeff Nations
Sherando track and field coach Tom Grim was concerned -- but also curious -- as he headed toward Davina Lane following her preliminary race in the 100-meter hurdles at last week's Group 4A North Regional meet in Lynchburg.
Grim was concerned because he'd never really seen Lane struggle before. He was curious to see how she'd handle the adversity.
"As a freshman, I think last week she got tested a little bit," Grim said. "She's not used to that. Once you get to this level, that's what you're going to get."
Lane has largely cruised during her freshman season for Sherando, dominating competition week after week as she continued to shave time in her hurdles events. Heading into that regional competition, Lane finally ran into some serious competition in the 100 hurdles. Seeded third going into the preliminaries, Lane had to dig deep just to pull out a fourth-place finish.
"She didn't get a real good start," Grim said. "She came back nice, but then she hit a hurdle. And then she hit another hurdle. She had someone right next to her, pushing her, and I think she just got a little out of sync."
Lane, who clocked a time of 16.32 seconds in the prelims -- well off her 15.58 seeding time -- bounced right back in the finals by posting a second-place effort of 15.61. That, combined with winning the 300 hurdles with a time of 46.03 seconds, garnered Lane the nod as The Northern Virginia Daily's Female Athlete of the Week for May 25-May 31.
"She responded really well to that with a good effort in the finals," Grim said of Lane's bounce-back showing in the 100 hurdles.
This season, Lane has been a dynamo for the Warriors. She currently leads the area in the 100, 200, high jump and both hurdles, plus ranks second in the 400. Lane had a chance to qualify for states in the 200 last week, but the short time between that event and the 100 hurdles (just two events before) ensured that she wouldn't be at her best for that race. She finished 12th in 27.45 well off her top seeding time of 26.23 seconds.
Lane has a chance to earn all-state honors in both of her hurdles events when she strolls onto the track in Harrisonburg for today's opening day of the Group 4A state competition. Lane is seeded fifth in the 300 hurdles and seventh in the 100 hurdles.
Grim said she's dangerous in both, but her speed gives her an edge in the 300 hurdles.
"Her speed can allow her to take over as the race progresses in the 300 hurdles," Grim said. "And she has good closing speed, as well."
That freshman status means the state competition, like everything else this track season, will be a totally new experience for Lane. Grim doesn't necessarily see that as a bad thing, though -- all season long, Lane has keep her composure and stayed relaxed while producing incredible results for Sherando.
"That's the thing about being so young," Grim said. "Her expectations are high, but she doesn't put too much pressure on herself."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>