Ross learned to love the 400

Ross learned to love the 400

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Ross learned to love the 400

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CLARKSVILLE, Tenn.

If the 100 meter race was just a warmup for the 400, Kymmalett Ross must have really cared about the sprint race.

Ross watched her 400 meter time decrease with each regular season track meet this past spring and by the time she walked out of Spring Fling in Murfreeboro she had a gold, first-place award and a state championship.

Ross capped her senior season at Northwest High with a state title in an event she wasn’t even sure she liked and now she caps it with The Leaf-Chronicle All Area Girls Track Athlete of the Year award. The honor is voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff while the All Area Track Team is selected by the area athletics directors.

“I’m so happy to win this award because last year, my AAU track teammate, Brittany (Kelly) won it and I thought about it and thought it would be great to win it too,” Ross said.

The Austin Peay signee, whose marquee race was the 200, decided to run the 400 to help her team solidify that event and after a few practice sessions trying to decide if she needed to sprint around the track or pace herself, she decided, instead, that she didn’t like the event.

“I hated it at first,” she said. “Couldn’t stand it. The 200 is a different race than the 100 but its still about speed and hitting the top end of your speed as quickly as possible. The 400 is about speed but it isn’t about just speed. It’s about getting there and then maintaining it for a long time. That was really tough to do when I first started competing in it.”

Yet it was the 100 that allowed Ross to gain momentum and confidence in her 400 race as the season progressed.

“I did use the 100 as a warmup,” she said. “I really looked at it as a way to prepare myself for the 400 because once I got into that event, I wanted to make sure that I worked hard enough to be competitive in it. I didn’t want to get into the 400 and not give it my all.”

Although Ross jumped into the event feet first it wasn’t completely foreign to her. She had ran the 400 in a few meets as a freshman, but, again, hated it and decided to concentrate on relay teams and the 200. But as her senior year approached Ross began thinking about her next step which included college and her desire to compete at that level as well.

“I knew I had to run in more open events,” she said. “Some colleges won’t really look at you unless you can run some open events and I wanted to run in college so I came back to the 400 because I felt it gave me the best chance at getting to college and I was familiar with the race.”

When Ross showed up at state in the 400 she was already surprised that a season that left her unsure of how it would turn out in that particular event led her back to Murfreesboro with a shot at a state title. She didn’t disappoint when her final race began. By the first turn, Ross has established herself among the leaders. Ross stayed relaxed in the final 100 meters to capture the state crown in a time of 55.9 seconds. It was her second fastest time of the year.

“I ran a 55.8 at sectional the week before,” Kelly said.

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