Freshman Paige Kisley emerged from the blocks in a smooth stride.
After the first two hurdles, Kisley had established a comfortable distance in the 100-meter race.
She doesn’t stutter, gliding over the hurdle with her lead leg, keeping her three-step technique in between each one.
It’s an easy first-place finish for the freshman’s first outdoor meet.
“There’s not a lot of high school kids who can do it,” head coach Tom Muller said. “They can do it through four or five hurdles, but she can three-step all of them.”
The simplified technique is as follows: Kisley lifts her lead leg towards the hurdle, leaning forward. As the lead leg points down the track, the trailing leg bends out to the side to clear the hurdle. That trailing leg drives up following the hurdle’s clearing as the leading leg’s toes find the track’s surface.
Following a complete landing, Kisley is ready to sprint one, two, three and leap.
Other mechanical details come into play, like toe position and posture. Kisley’s hips have to stay stable and forward.
Kisley finishes with a time of 16.81 seconds, a good first race mark outdoors, but she knows what she’s capable of.
“I’m hoping to make it to state and compete for a title,” Kisley said. “Hoping to do that in many relays and other individual events as well.”
Never mind the fact she’s a freshman -- Kisley’s competitive drive runs in deep Osage green blood. She was already a key weapon on the volleyball court, an outside hitter for a state-semifinal team.
She tributes that to her family’s love for fitness. Her dad was a collegiate wrestler. But her never-satisfied attitude is unique at a young age.
“Today she asked how she could get better and how can I improve, I had to build her a up a little bit because she was down herself,” Muller said. “She thought she could run the kids down on the home stretch and we had to talk about how high school is different from middle school track.”
Kisley pants after her 400 hurdles. She took third, but she shrugs it off because she wasn’t pleased with the time. She needed to cut herself some slack, because she hasn’t been able to practice that distance given the weather conditions.
She doesn’t say much because there isn’t much to say.
“Nice to compete, finally,” Kisley said. “Definitely need to work on staying lower to the hurdles and I’m getting faster on my 400 hurdles.”
She runs up the stands. She still has one race left.
It’s the 4x100-meter relay, where her team takes first.