|Gracie Hyde is the 2016 Class 4A state champion in cross country.|
By Mark Buffalo
LONOKE — Distance runner Gracie Hyde had an outstanding season for the Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits cross-country team.
Hyde, a junior transfer from Brookland High School, won the Class 4A state championship back in November at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. She won the race with a time of 19 minutes, 47.5 seconds. Bekah Bostian of Prairie Grove was second with a time of 19:51.2.
Hyde ran the race, felling the affects of mononucleosis for weeks. Hyde didn’t run cross country at Brookland, because the school did not have a team. However, she won the 800 and 1,600 at the Class 4A state meet last year.
“I started running in the seventh grade,” Hyde said. “However, it wasn’t until last track season that I became really involved. My dad took me to the state indoor meet, and having not ran since the previous outdoor season, I lapped everyone in my heat, earning third place in the 1A-4A. I would say that is when I began to realize my true potential in running.”
Hyde said she plans to run all the distance races this year for the Lady Jackrabbits, including the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
“I am ecstatic as I will be the returning 800 and 1,600 meter state champion,” she said. “I know that we have the opportunity to win the team championship title.”
A year ago at Brookland, Hyde won the high-point award at the conference track meet. She won the 400, 800, 1600, 3200 and high jump..
“I am certain running will play a major factor in my future,” she said. “While I’m undecided, several Division I schools have begun to recruit me. I’d like to compete collegiately and possibly past that and become a college track coach.”
Hyde is also a member of the Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits basketball team.
“Basketball is a sport I love but running is who I am,” she said. “It dictates my life, my friends, what I do, where I am, how I eat, etc. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
In fact, Hyde ran in an 800-meter race Saturday at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She sent a personal record with a time of 2:18.
Hyde said she has a goal of breaking a 5-minute mile this year.
“That is something only three girls have done in the history of Arkansas,” she said. “I also hope to qualify for the New Balance National Indoor and the Brooks PR Outdoor Invitational, two prestigious national meets only an elite group of girls to get to compete in.
“In cross country, I plan to improve off the past season and great the state record in the 5K.”