Lane continues to thrive on track

Davina Lane

STEPHENS CITY – Sherando head track and field coach Tom Grim knows that sophomore Davina Lane is a rare find.

“Every now and then we get a special athlete here. She’s one of those special athletes,” Grim said before Tuesday’s practice. “And they seem to sprinkle them in. I wish we’d get four or five of those at one time but hey, we’ll take them when we can get them. But she’s one of those kids that’s naturally blessed with speed.”

From the moment Lane joined the Warriors as a freshman last year, she was on the fast track to success. She was a Conference 21 champion in three events, a Region 4A North champ in the 300-meter hurdles and an all-state performer in both hurdle races.

Lane is right back at it again this spring.

In last week’s Conference 21 meet at Millbrook High School on May 20, the sophomore defended each of her three titles from the previous season by winning the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and the 200-meter dash.

But Lane, the Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for May 17-23, did a little more than just defending those championships. She set a new school record in the 100 hurdles with her winning time of 15.18 seconds (topping her own personal-best time of 15.34 seconds), and she nearly broke two other records with her winning performances in the 300 hurdles (45.68 seconds) and the 200 (25.64), the former only four one-hundredths of a second off her own school record mark.

Lane said of the three events, it was her performance in the 100 hurdles that stood out most.

“I felt like I was [running a personal-best time] but I didn’t think I would go by that much,” Lane said. “I thought it would just be like .01-something, but it was by a lot and I was like, oh my gosh.”

Lane’s performance at the Conference 21 meet came as no surprise to Grim, who said Lane arrived at Sherando last season already advanced in the hurdle races beyond her years. Grim, who coached hurdles last season before passing that responsibility off to Jamie McCarty this spring, said his job was to help Lane improve her technique while avoiding doing something that “messes it all up.”

“She came in, she could three-step as a freshman and three-stepping is the ultimate,” Grim said. ” … Most girls it takes until they’re close to their junior year before they’re making the three-step. She was able to do it as a freshman because she was a little taller and she had speed.”

Lane has been hard at work refining her hurdling technique this spring – more so than last season, McCarty said – as she’s focused a lot of attention on changing her arm positioning while clearing the hurdles.

“I had really bad arms. In middle school I did a punch kind of thing but now I have to work on getting my arm in the front and it’s a lot harder because it’s balance in a way,” Lane said. “A lot of people swing their arms out because it helps them stay above the hurdle, but you’re not supposed to do that. You’re supposed to snap your arms.”

McCarty said Lane’s times took a dip at the beginning of the season as she tried adding new changes to her technique, but things have since “smoothed out” for the sophomore.

“It was a lot of changes early in the season and I think you’ll hear other coaches … talk about your brain ties up your feet, and I think that was the same thing for her early in the season,” McCarty said. “Her brain was thinking about the new form so she wasn’t just executing everything else right. But like I said, now that she’s got things down it’s been a lot smoother.”

Lane’s next step is a chance to defend her 300 hurdles title at Thursday’s Region 4A North meet at Woodgrove High School, where she also hopes to earn a victory in the 100 hurdles after placing second in the event a year ago.

Then it’s on to the Group 4A state meet for Lane – who has already qualified in both hurdle races and the 200-meter dash – where she’s aiming to build on her fourth- and eighth-place finishes in the 100 and 300 hurdles, respectively, after gaining valuable experience last season.

“Good athletes step up when the meets get bigger, so I’m hoping to see her maybe get a little better each week here,” Grim said.

“She was doing great things all year and now here at the end of the year, now it’s starting to come out and she’s getting a little bit better. Hopefully each week she’s able to step up just a little bit more.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com