Welcome to the party Miss Valandra-Prue....
By Rich Winter
As I lay my weary head down after a massive day of electric track and field state A championships, Friday, I flipped onto a re-broadcast of the Summit League Outdoor championships, held in Vermillion, earlier this year.
Watched former Sturgis prep star, Brooke Ireland finish 4th in a loaded field with a time of 56.64
Summit League outdoor 400 meter championships...
1 Reynolds, Madison SR Oral Roberts 53.68S 10, 2 Milbrath, Morgan JR North Dakota State 54.21 8, 3 Woods, Alexis SO North Dakota State 55.14 6, 4 Ireland, Brooke SO South Dakota 56.64 5, 5 Hahn, Deidre SO North Dakota State 57.67 4
Hmmmm, with 57.67 being fifth in the Summit League that means that Todd County 7th-grader, Caelyn Valandra, who ran 57.5 to finish 2nd in the Class A 400 meters would have finished 5th in the Summit League 400.
You remember the Summit League right. A group of schools that have recently moved up to or remain Division 1 schools. Division 1, like UCLA and Tennessee, and our 7th grader would have finished 5th...WHOA.
Had a very interesting conversation Friday with McCook Central Montrose's head track coach. He's the coach of McCook Central Montrose 8th grader, Jacey Pulse, who finished third in the Class A 400 meters.
When he found out I was from Mission, he commented on Valandra winning the Howard Wood 400 meters. "She took off sprinting, and she never stopped," was essentially what the man said."
Told him I had been concerned about Valandra getting through the 100 prelims and semis after running the 4x800.
"She ran the 4x8 was his astonished reply."
Yep, that she did!
I want to point you to the face of Valandra on the medals stand of the 400 meters where she's obviously feeling a little down after coming so close in an event everyone but her hates. I'm only interpreting the look but I say it has nothing to do with feeling bad about not winning, it's because she lost...If that makes un-offensive sense?
This young lady is a Warrior and she takes what she does pretty seriously. She wears that TC uniform with pride and she plays hard and gives it everything she has every time she takes to the track.
She doesn't like losing and I have a feeling if she was playing NBA 2K or checkers or Uno that she would be all in, all the time. It's rare in someone so young to see this heart and this drive. Sometimes as a writer, it's hard to capture and impossible to define but in simple terms, this lady wants to win and she'll do whatever it takes to get there.
A massive performance for this girl at her first state meet.
* 3200 meter relay - Teamed with Karli Prue, Kelsie Herman and Raven Cournoyer to finish 5th.
* 100 meters - 4th
* 400 meters - 2nd
* 200 meters - 2nd
It was oh so cool to hear the public address announcer flubbing the name Valandra a few times. We've seen it and heard it but when you look at it for the first time it looks deceiving. It's cool the announcer knows all these wild stats and numbers (I can identify) and tosses them out during warm-ups.
As Valandra is getting announced for the 100 meter final, her picture flashes up on the big screen in front of 10-thousand fans and the guy rattles off about ten interesting tidbits for a TCMS 7th grader.
Very excited to see this young lady put on a Lady Falcons uniform in whatever sport(s) she chooses. She's tough, she's competitive, she's likable and every once in a while she takes off her super-woman cape to remind us she's still just a young lady that likes to have fun, before ripping your head off.....I like it.