The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 10, 2013

Haley Woodard creating new standard in Timberwolves’ track circles

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The hardest arrived a few months ago, toward the end of basketball season. While Woodard was teaming up with junior Bri Kuestersteffen to lead the team to the state tournament, the soccer team began practicing. One day after practice, Kuestersteffen was leaving to have her picture taken for the soccer team, and she asked Woodard to come along.

She couldn’t.

Woodard had made up her mind to focus on track and see where she could get with a season of training under her belt. Still, she wanted to, so much so that she sat down in her red mini Cooper and drove halfway there before turning around.

“I wanted so much to go, but I didn’t,” Woodard said. “I drove back and broke down crying. I felt like I hadn’t really made my decision until right then. It was a really hard decision to give up soccer, something that was a part of me and that I had been doing since I was 4 years old. But I wasn’t enjoying it like I used to. It was the right thing to do.”

It’s a decision that’s paid dividends. Despite not having a traditional track background or even a traditional routine — she’s still not comfortable using starting blocks, for instance — Woodard has shown consistent improvement her first full track season. She’s already bested her state-winning 400 time and she’s less than a second away from setting state records in both the 200 and the 400, marks that have stood for a combined 30 years.

Also, Woodard’s presence at the track doesn’t just help her, but the rest of the team, too.

“The girls compete for a chance to run with her because they know they’ll probably get a medal,” Ramsey said. “She’s not a big vocal leader, but she is very coachable and she does lead by example. The other girls work harder because she’s there.”

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