41st ARCADIA INVITATIONAL
When the lights go on, the stars come out!
Where: Arcadia High
Tickets: Friday night relays session – Adults $7 | Students $7 | Children 12 and under $5. Saturday (all day admisison) – Adults $15 | Students with High School ID $10 | Children 12 and under $5. Note: Saturday’s invitational portion usually sells out. Maximum capacity is 7,200.
By Keith Lair
Lindsay Cooper is aiming high.
When track and field aficionados recall famous Muir High School sprinters in the future, the senior wants to be mentioned in the same breath as Alice Brown and Inger Miller. Matching those two Olympian’s feats will be no small task though. The pair set school records and won CIF-Southern Section titles en route to eventual world championships and Olympic gold.
“I really want to leave an impression on high school track,” Cooper said. “I want to at least break the record here at Muir for the 100 and 200. I’m really pressing myself to break both of those records.
“I know it is (good company), but I go here, too. My expectations are that is what I want to do. That is my goal. It’s exciting to compete here with everybody who came before you. You’re carrying a load, you’re trying to be the best. You’re trying to do things everybody has accomplished. You’re trying to make a name for yourself like everybody else did.”
That record-breaking instinct can all be attributed to what Cooper did not do last year. She finished third in the CIF-Southern Section Division III 100-meter hurdles with a personal best of 14.90 seconds.
But it was not fast enough to make it to the CIF-SS Masters Meet.
Yet, she sat in the Cerritos College stadium last May watching competitors in the event run slower times than she did in the finals.
She called it “heartbreaking.”
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Cooper said she wants to reach the state meet in both sprint events and the 100 hurdles this season.
“I’m practicing every day and practicing hard,” she said. “I’m working on technical things I didn’t think I had to work on, but I’m working on now. Like my leans, my starts, my acceleration, my lead leg, bending my toes and my arms; just the technical stuff that is really making me improve.”
She ran a personal best of 11.9 in the 100 last season and with the season about half over, she is already running consistently in the low 12 seconds, with a season best of 12.1. Despite very limited practice in the hurdles, she has run a 15.05 this season, 0.15 seconds off that CIF-SS finals mark of last season.
Saturday, she will compete in the open portion of the 41st annual Arcadia Invitational, competing in just the hurdles.
“I don’t think she gets as much recognition in the 100 as she does in the hurdles,” first-year Muir coach Chris Zubia said. “She is a phenomenal sprinter. She’ll make some noise in the invite on Saturday. We’re coming in to make a statement in the hurdles.”
Someone has already noticed. In February, she signed a scholarship to compete for UNLV next season. She turned down offers from Tennessee State, Boise State, Northern Arizona, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara.
Zubia has had Cooper do very little work on the hurdles, but it has not been an issue, she said.
“I was a sprinter before I was a hurdler,” she said “I’m glad they are working with me in sprints because the stuff I use in the sprints I have to use in the hurdles. They go hand-in-hand. We’ve been working on things and mixing things up. We’ll work on starts one day. Sprints another day. Hurdles another day.”
Zubia said Cooper could probably beat some Pacific League boys in the 100. He attributes it to her dedication.
“She’s a great girl from a character standpoint and a competitive side,” he said. “One thing you can always count on is that she is going to go 1,000 percent. I know that sounds excessive, but when it comes time to go, I’ll put her up against some of the boys in our league.
“She’s always there. She’s a leader, even influencing the boys. She’s the first one dressed for practice and the first one to lead. She does everything properly before calling it a day. Whatever college coach gets her is going to inherit a gem because she has already been exposed to a college regimen. There’s a progression for the season.
You have to come to practice properly. That’s Lindsay. You must have the right diet. That’s Lindsay. You have to attack practice and meets and you will get better. She meets all of those exceptionally.”
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