Just who is Kassie Matthews? You could say she is 6th All-Time in the History of Hart's 300mH, the starting right back position in the game of Soccer, or she's just an ordinary teenager trying to get throughs the ups and downs that life throws at a young lady her age.
But one thing that is certain. She is a multiple sport athlete.
How does an individual balance the schedule of soccer and the hurdle life?
For one, she makes sure she's in great physical shape for the game of soccer. When she finishes the long and intense season she goes straight into hurdles where she maybe a little bit over the month behind. As she says, "I get there I have a lot to catch up on even though I'm in pretty good shape. In my first weeks back I have to do a lot of repetitions of going over hurdles, repeat workouts and I have to focus on my technique and steps." Even if she is in great shape from soccer, hurdling requires a whole new side of conditioning in order for someone to get better.
Coming into the 2015 track season, Kassie was already dealing with a hyper-extended elbow that she received in a soccer game. That alone took her out for two weeks and made her miss one league meet.
In League Prelims she suffered a strained hip flexer during the 300m hurdles. Days later she would compete in Finals. She says, "I was still in pain and only placed 5th. It was a huge disappointment and I hope to make it to CIF next year."
Being Competitive does not end at a meet, it is also seen on the track with teammates like Kendall Kuhlman who push Kassie to her full potential. As stated by Kassie, "Kendall and I would always push each other. We would train together and cheer each other on. She is an amazing hurdler and she pushed me to do better."
For Kassie, her goals for the season are to break 47, place the top 3 in league and get into CIF for the 300m hurdles.
The three phases in a race that all track runners are familiar with. Comparing ones career to the start of a gun is nearly impossible since athletes who come and go have had some experience with the event they normally participate in with at least a 3 months training. However, this does not apply to Seanna Nalbandyan of Canyon High School who shocked the Foothill League Varsity race by coming out of nowhere defeating Adaugo of West Ranch in Foothill League Prelims with a time of 48.08.
Even I at the time who was coaching at West Ranch for hurdles couldn't believe what I had witness. But knowing the completive culture of Canyon Hurdles it did not surprise me that a gem was found for the programs historic track record.
For this Junior, she had only ran one... yes. One race all her freshman year. Going into sophomore year she began to hurdle regularly and shined where it counted most. Foothill League Prelims.
When asked how the transition between the 400m Dash and 300m Hurdles she replied, " Well the transition wasn't hard at all I really enjoyed running hurdles because it was fun and i always got excited when I had to race it. Furthermore, it was shorter then the 400 so that's always good." I agree with you Seanna. Seanna has set goals for herself where she hopes to compete in both the 300 hurdles and 400m dash in CIF.
During the off season Seanna has been putting in some work so that she is ready for the next season. She's has been building her endurance and stamina by running cross country. Endurance and stamina that are necessary if one wants to excel in hurdles.
What a feat, Adaugo Oguejiofor has already accomplished during her soon to be third year in the Foothill League. As a freshman she dominated the hurdle scene from beginning to end. Highlighted by winning against the 2013 defending 100mH champion, Caitlyn Zindroski, by .03. During her sophomore year she would adopt the 300mH which would pay off for her advantage when she posted a sub 47 & double at FLC (Foothill League Championship) the likes that haven't been seen in the valley since Taylor Thomas of Canyon High School.
Her athletic ability does not just end in the hurdle department. She is currently West Ranch's only Heptathlon. Which, she competed in at the Mt. Sac Multis over the summer finishing 1st in her age group and 3th overall.
Though, she knows that she needs to keep improving if she wants to keep winning.
What is the next step for an athlete who has already achieved so much?
Adaugo says, "My goals for this season are to get faster and stronger. To reach 5000 points in the heptathlon. It would be great to finally make it to CIF Finals but that will only happen if I lower my times and increase my height and distance in the jumps."
With these goals she's set she realizes what she'll need to improve upon the most, "I need to work on my endurance for the 300 hurdles and also core strength would help me with my jumps. Technique would help with High jump and speed would help with 100 hurdles." Adaugo explained. As she knows, being the best means you have to keep on improving because someone you may have beaten last year can beat you the next year.
2015 Foothill League Championship
Who Adaugo believes may be her biggest competition going into both hurdle events she said, "For the 300 hurdles it would definitely be Seanna Nalbandyan of Canyon High School and my teammate Lalonie Davis. For the 100 hurdles it would be Saugus's Brooke Thompson and teammate Julia Watler for 100's." A group of girls who all have a shot of taking over current Reigning Champion in both hurdle events, Adaugo Oguejiofor.
Will the 3-Peat happen? Will she join in the ELITE company of Katie Kirst and Taylor Thomas?