CANAL WINCHESTER — Area track fans watched her gracefully glide over hurdles and easily run past competitors week after week.
But what sets Canal Winchester’s Joscelyn Powell apart is her attention to detail and willingness to work harder than everybody else when nobody else is watching — during practice.
Powell, who just finished her sophomore year, is the 2012 Eagle-Gazette’s Girls Track Athlete of the Year. She placed fourth in the 100 hurdles (14.33) and eighth in the 300 hurdles (43.70) during the Division I state meet Friday and Saturday at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
“Every single meet she performed well,” Indians girls coach John Bender said, “but what really set her apart is the fact that she’s a great practice performer. She came to practice every day and worked as hard as she possibly could.”
Powell, who also won four individual titles at the Mid-State League Buckeye Division championship meet with victories in the 100 and 200 and the two hurdle races, said she knows she’s got younger teammates to look out for.
“I look at every practice as a chance to get better,” Powell said. “How am I going to get better today is something I always ask myself? I know that I’m one of the girls that my teammates look up to and I always want to set a good example for them.
“Working hard is a really big part of being good, and it’s important to do your best every time you get a chance to run.”
Making the podium in two separate events at the state is something not everybody is capable of doing, and as she continues to garner more attention from college coaches, Powell still doesn’t see herself as an elite high school athlete.
“I don’t consider myself that good yet,” she said. “I’m OK, but I’ve got a lot of room for improvement. I just finished my sophomore year, but there are so many things I can do better.”
Bender laughs at Powell’s humility and quickly points out there are few athletes who have done what she has in two seasons.
“We’re hoping she does continue to improve,” Bender said. “She is already one of the best in the state. I think she definitely has a future in track and field at a large university.”
The future for Powell appears bright, but it wasn’t until recently when she realized her college future probably would include track spikes and probably not cheerleading pom poms like she once thought.
“Lately, I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I don’t think I will be hanging up my spikes any time soon,” Powell said. “Right now, I’m pretty sure I plan on running in college. It’s something I love to do too much to give up.”