Prep track: Rhythm, technique key to success for St. Albans standout
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Up, over, ahead and repeat. That's the process to success for St. Albans sprinter/hurdler Anacia Hines as she continues to set personal records time-after-time this track season.
Hines, a sophomore, has quickly established a reputation across the Kanawha Valley and beyond as one of the Mountain State's top sprinters and hurdlers, as it seems with every meet she continues to break her own marks. On Friday, at the Mountain State Athletic Conference Championships, Hines won the 100-meter run, 200 and 100 hurdles.
No matter the event, Hines continues to improve on her marks.
"Her times just keep decreasing," Coach Scott James said. "Every week she keeps getting a personal best in something.
"Something clicked with her in the last month. She's been working extremely, extremely hard and has just really led by example for our team, and it's paid off. She's getting better and better every week."
As a freshman, Hines advanced to the State Meet in all three of her main events, finishing fifth in the 100 and eighth in the 200.
"I'm doing better than I expected," Hines said of this year's results. "I planned on improving on my times and everything, but I didn't plan on PRing every time I ran, and I'm glad that's what I'm doing, and I plan to continue to do that and get better."
It shouldn't be a surprise Hines has succeeded at such exceptional levels, given her increased dedication to the sport.
"It's God-given ability first and foremost," James said. "Secondly, it's her work ethic. In the offseason, she's worked with the (Capital City) Striders for years and years and has had a lot of success under the tutelage of Chip Ferrell and this year, really, in the fall she worked pretty hard this year, in the fall, for the first time. She'll admit that. The dividends are paying off."
While most hurdlers and sprinters rely upon the physique of long legs that produce longer strides, the 5-foot-1 Hines employs rhythm and technique as her foundation.
"I have three steps in between hurdles, but I actually learned from a song," Hines said. "I'm not sure what the song is called. Just the rhythm of the song makes me go."
That song is "The Hey Song," an anthem popular in many sports arenas. Hines said she uses the beat of the song to keep her mind focused as she works through the hurdles.
"The key is the speed and getting out of the blocks and making sure you're as low to the hurdles as possible, and snapping your knee, your trail leg over," she said. "If you don't have your trail leg over, then you're gliding over the hurdles and you're not going to be able to get those three steps, because you're a step short."
With the right technique, Hines amazes with her talent to prove height is no requirement for a hurdler.
"What people are amazed at is how she gets over the hurdles with her height," James said. "She's not very tall at all. If you watch hurdles, the goal is to have three steps between your hurdles. As short as she is, she does three steps and everybody thinks it's about height, but it's about speed.
"She's got enough speed to where if she has her steps down, there's three steps between every hurdle. That's one of her keys to success, combined, of course, with her speed that she has."
The steps have led Hines to success each meet this season.
"I'm very proud of myself," she said. "Before, I didn't think that I would be here. I thought 'Hurdles? Oh yeah, that'll be fun. Let's try it.' I've really been shocked with myself. I've shocked myself so many times this year. I didn't even know how good I was doing until the finish line. I just have fun."
As the personal records continue to accumulate in Hines' three events, that fun should last right into the state championship, James said.
"If she continues to progress, she has an opportunity to win one, two or all three of those events," he said.