Junior Sadi Giles is proud to end a Sherman track and field drought that stretches all the way back to when she was still a fourth-grader.
“It’s really exciting,” Giles said. “A lot of people have congratulated me and I feel like I need to go represent really well.”
Giles will run in both the Class 5A girls 100-meter and 200-meter dashes at the University Interscholastic League state track and field championships at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin on Friday night.
“She prepares herself mentally and physically as well as any athlete I’ve been around, across the board in any sport I’ve coached,” Sherman head track coach Mark Wilkinson said. “When it’s time for her to race, she locks in.”
Giles is the first Sherman athlete to qualify for the state meet since Jayzhia Softly did so in the high jump as a freshman in 2010.
Already, Giles is guaranteed to be one of the nine fastest girls in 5A out of more than 750 who competed in the classification this spring. Winning a medal this weekend would be a thrill, she said.
“It would be a great accomplishment for me,” Giles said. “Hopefully it would spark up a few colleges and get them seeing me. I just want to PR (personal record), though. A medal really doesn’t matter. As long as my time gets better, I’m fine.”
Giles went to the regional meet last spring as a sophomore, but was hampered by a hamstring injury and finished eighth in the 100. She said recovering from the injury was a yearlong process.
At the 5A Region I meet in Lubbock two weeks ago, Giles won the 200 in a time of 24.74 seconds, which was 0.23 seconds faster than runner-up Jasmine Deckard of Denton. In the 100, Giles finished in 12.02, which was second to Plainview’s Kaizha Roberts.
“I thought what she did at the regional track meet was pretty impressive,” Wilkinson said. “It was about 45 degrees, raining, windy and cold, and she ran the 200 and pretty much left everybody in her dust. That’s the mental part of it, because a lot of people get in those situations and don’t handle it. She used it to her advantage.”
Among regional qualifying times, Giles ranks seventh in the 100 field, and sixth in the 200. However, Wilkinson noted that her PR in the 200 would elevate her into the top three.
“The 200 is the race where she has the best opportunity to medal if you look at the competing times she’s going up against,” Wilkinson said. “The 100 is a lot stiffer.”
Coincidentally, Giles will be competing against a runner with the same surname in both races — Ja’Leesa Giles of Mansfield Legacy, who qualified for state in the same two events.
Because Sherman does not have an athletics period for girls’ track and field — a bone of contention for Wilkinson — and Sadi Giles doesn’t participate in any other sports, she has to train on her own. Giles said she trains five days a week, taking Fridays and Sundays off to recover.
“Track is life,” Giles said. “It’s all I do.”
Most of her training takes place with her select track coaches, former Dallas Cowboy defensive back Omar Stoutmire and his wife Sheila with North Texas Jackrabbits out of Plano.
“I’ll have a hard workout on Monday, and on Tuesday I’ll do something like a light jog,” Giles said. “Then I’ll have something hard again on Wednesday.”
This spring, the first under Wilkinson, marked a resurgence for Sherman in track and field. At regionals this year, Giles went along with freshman Bria Bullard, who ran in the 200. Giles has taken Bullard under her wing and hopes each of them can make the other better this year and next.
“She wanted to beat me,” Giles said. “I was really happy for her that she made it that far.”
Their success was joined on the boys’ side by junior Ty Rockins, who qualified for region in the shot put. Wilkinson said in all, 13 Bearcats qualified for the area meet.
“The kids did well and hopefully that’ll lead to next year and maybe we can get some more numbers out,” Wilkinson said. “We need more kids running track. The sport of track feeds into all other sports. There’s not a sport around that you need to be fast to be good at. Being faster doesn’t hurt you in anything.”
It’ll be Giles’ first trip to state, but she already has an idea of what to expect.
“I know everyone there is expecting to do well,” Giles said. “Everybody was first and second out of their regionals. Everybody’s going to come with heat. I’ve got to just go.”