A hurdler’s worst nightmare is hearing that peculiar “ping”, a horrifying clinking noise that signifies something’s gone awry trying to clear a barricade, and something much worse could be at hand.

Two weeks ago at Southridge’s intersquad meet, Skyhawk senior Natalie Leckey nicked the last hurdler with her lead leg, which caught her lead leg and caused her to topple to the ground during the 100-meter hurdle dash. Leckey got up and won the race, but the fear of falling, and the fright of losing messed with the 2013 state competitor’s mind a bit.

Tumbling can be somewhat traumatizing, especially for butter-smooth stars like Leckey who rarely slip up racing around the oval.

Against Sunset on Thursday, Leckey grazed the first hurdle in the 100 competition, but was able to quickly right herself in plenty of time to win the race in 15.74. And, as the night grew colder and darker, the senior rolled to a 46.93 victory in the 300 meter hurdles to help alleviate the intersquad meet’s adverse remnants.

“I just focused on the outcome I wanted, which was to win and run a solid race,” said Leckey. “I’m excited for this season. I didn’t run my best times, but I wanted to make sure I stayed clean over all my hurdles.”

Since running is her only sport, Leckey trains year-round in preparation for the spring. She lifted weights nearly every day during the summer, and power lifted with the Skyhawk training coaches during the fall. That muscle has turned into speed, just in time for track season.

“I feel a lot more explosive, which is nice,” said Leckey. “I always struggled with my starts for the 300s, but I actually feel like I’m coming out nice and fast for the race.”

Leckey’s goal is to break both hurdle records from Southridge. The 300 hurdle record is fast at 44.10 Leckey said. And, while she’s not there yet, Leckey is looking to break it sometime this spring, then go to state and place “nice and high.” Leckey was part of the Skyhawks’ winning 400 meter relay along with Rachel Niessen, Jennifer Osborn and Jaena Goddard.

“It’s going to take hard work and just keep doing what I’ve been doing,” said Leckey. “I’ve been going to every practice, training and taking care of my body.”

Skyhawk sophomore Kylie Russell won the 400 (27.15) and her fellow sophomore Osborn took first in the 800 (2:19). Kylie Myers threw 101-07 in the javelin for first place and Victoria Holton cleared eight feet in the pole vault for another Southridge victory.

Sunset’s defending state discus champion Savannah Sharp won the discus (123-04) by more than 34 feet, but said she was more pleased with setting a new personal record in the shot put (37-5).

“The timing just really came together,” said Sharp. “I was going after it, but it was mostly the timing and the footwork. It was nice, but I’ve been practicing hard. Last year I made it to state, but didn’t make it to the finals. That’s my goal this year, to get to the finals at state.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunsets Savannah Sharp won both the discus and shot put at the Apollos dual meet with Southridge on Thursday. Sharp set a new personal record in the shot.

Sharp’s throw in the discus was her best since hurling a 127-04 at the 6A state championship last year, when as a sophomore the Apollo shocked the field and took home a state title. As a junior, Sharp’s gone back and watched what she could’ve done better with her form, whether it’s getting the discus further away from her body or honing her footwork.

“Really, it’s been back to the basics,” said Sharp. “I’ve been working on the things I didn’t get last year, and trying to integrate those into the throws.”

Reigning 200-meter dash state champion Taylor Coon cruised to a 26.08 first place finish in the 200 while taking first in the 100 (12.82) and anchoring the Apollos’ triumphant 4X100 relay(50.40). Senior Charlotte Corless swept the 1,500 (5:03) and 3,000 (10:59). Freshman Bailey Carter won the high jump (4-08), sophomore Audra Neyman took first in the long jump (14-10).

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