MELLETTE – Jessica Boekelheide had never even used blocks before, but less than 13 seconds later the junior had sprinted her way into the school record books.
The Northwestern distance runner had a busy schedule last weekend and wanted to finish up her day early.
“I had to leave the meet early for a church retreat,” Boekelheide said. “I persuaded my coach to put me in the 100-meter dash, because it was towards the beginning and he let me run it.”
Boekelheide is grateful that her coach Scott Boone put her in the fast heat along with teammate Sydney Schell. Boekelheide made the most of her first sprint opportunity, not only winning the race, but setting a school record in the process.
Boekelheide won in a time of 12.44 seconds, breaking the school record of 12.72 set by Val Bohl and Schell. That time currently ranks first in the state for Class B girls. Schell finished second with a time 12.58, which ranks second statewide right behind Boekelheide.
“It was one of those, ‘Hey Sydney, bet I can beat you to the barn,’ ” Boone said.
Boekelheide was happy Schell was in the same race for more reasons than one.
“She helped me a lot leading up the race, because I had never started a race out of blocks before,” Boekelheide said. “She helped me set them up and just feel more comfortable and not so out of place.”
Boekelheide, a past place winner at the state cross country meet, said running a sprint race is easier mentally, but not necessarily physically, compared to a mile or two-mile race.
“Easier mentally, you don’t have to push yourself for the same duration of time, but just as physically challenging,” Boekleheide said of her initial 100-meter dash. “I was actually surprised how sore I was afterwards. It’s a different kind of fatigue that I’m not used to.”
Boekelheide entered the race wanting to be competitive, but didn’t have any expectations of what the end result would be.
“I was hoping I would compete well,” she said. “I had no idea I would run a good time, though.”
Boone knew that Boekelheide was a versatile runner, but many of the sprint races often interfered with her distance events.
“Jessica has always been fast,” Boone said. “At times we have tried to use her in sprint relays, but is usually conflicted with her 1,600 and 3,200.”
However, things are likely to be changing now.
Boekleheide plans to be bolting out of the blocks again in the near future. Prior to last week’s meet, she had no idea who owned the school record in the 100, but knew that Peyton Groft owned the mark in the 3,200.
“I would love to have the record in the two-mile,” Boekelheide said, “but I think for now I’ll focus on the sprints.”
That means a different training regime and a chance to work a bit more closely with Schell.
“We never really competed against each other until that race,” Boekelheide said, “but from here on it will definitely help having a teammate.”
Boekelheide said she never would have believed it had someone told her before last week that she would soon own the school record in the 100-meter dash.
“I never thought of running sprints and that was my first 100-meter dash I ever ran as a high schooler,” Boekelheide said. “It’s fun to run fast. When you finish a longer you’re race you’re just glad you’re done, but the sprints it’s definitely fun.”
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