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Published: Thursday, 5/1/2008

Sidelines: Anthony Wayne s Schmidt among state s elite sprinters

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Anthony Wayne junior Erika Schmidt holds school records in the 100 meters (11.87) and 200 (23.8). She finished fifth in the 100 and second in the 200 last year at the Division I state meet and also helped two relay teams place   1600 (fifth) and 800 (seventh). Anthony Wayne junior Erika Schmidt holds school records in the 100 meters (11.87) and 200 (23.8). She finished fifth in the 100 and second in the 200 last year at the Division I state meet and also helped two relay teams place 1600 (fifth) and 800 (seventh).
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Anthony Wayne s Erika Schmidt is not only one of the top sprinters in northwest Ohio this spring, the 5-foot-10 junior is one of the fastest runners in the state.

A two-time state qualifier, Schmidt approached this track season looking to do what someone in her position would be expected to do.

I m just going to run my hardest and I m definitely working my hardest, Schmidt said.

Any improvements from a year ago for Schmidt could ultimately propel her to the position as the state s top female sprinter.

After qualifying as a freshman for the Division I state meet in the 200 meters and placing fifth, Schmidt came right back last spring and qualified for the 100 and 200.

She took fifth in the 100 (12.36) and second (23.94) in the 200.

The sky is the limit for Erika and she knows that, Anthony Wayne track coach Jim Lopez said. Each year she feels more and more confident. Her goal is to be one of the best anywhere and everywhere.

Schmidt s placing in the top five in both of her individual sprint events at state a year ago made her one of the girls sprinters to be reckoned with for the next two years.

Anthony Wayne s Erika Schmidt looks to reach the state meet for a third straight season. She hasn t lost a race this year. Anthony Wayne s Erika Schmidt looks to reach the state meet for a third straight season. She hasn t lost a race this year.
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Schmidt opened some eyes with top-5 finishes in both sprints last year, but it was a year earlier when she posted a 24.80 in the 200 state final that served as a personal turning point.

That was the most intimidating experience my freshman year because people didn t think anything about me and I just had to prove to people I could do it, Schmidt said.

Last year Schmidt finished second to Bowsher s Meshawn Graham in the 100 and 200 at both the district and regional, while also helping two relay teams (800 and 1600) qualify for state as the Generals won both the district and regional crowns.

Schmidt started this season slowly due to a nagging knee injury suffered during the basketball season. She was initially held back but as the weeks have gone by her training and her strength have continued toincrease.

There was some discomfort in her knee but she s starting to come around now, Lopez said. She s starting to look like Erika and that s not too bad.

Even when Schmidt wasn t at her best during the opening weeks, she was still better than the rest of her competition and has not lost a race this season.

She s coming off a strong weekend showing where she swept the 100 and 200 and ran legs on two winning relay teams (400 and 800) at the Bill Krause Memorial Track Invitational at Tiffin Columbian.

She won the 100 with a time of 12.54 and the 200 in 25.20. It was the second year in a row she swept the two races.

She had a great Tiffin meet, Lopez said. Erika loves doing what Erika does.

Besides running track, Schmidt also plays soccer and basketball and she s been a key contributor in each sport. She helped the Generals go undefeated and during the regular season win the Northern Lakes League in basketball two seasons ago as one of the team s top defensive players.

However, it s running on the track where Schmidt feels most at home and it s what she plans to pursue in college. She s received interest from colleges, including the University of Florida, which she visited during spring break.

Schmidt hasn t made any plans and hasn t received any offers, but she s looking to showcase her talents this season.

The junior year is kind of an important year because colleges are [looking] and I just want it to be my best year, said Schmidt, whose personal best times of 11.87 in the 100 and 23.8 in the 200 are AW school records she set last spring.

She continues to work on improving her technique out of the starting blocks and fine-tuning her running form and hopes a state title is in her future.

She knows she s a sprinter and she knows if you can t get out of the blocks quick you re already behind, Lopez said. It s all the little simple things that some will forget.

In an attempt to become even better, Schmidt has raised the bar on her training regimen. She s begun working out with a personal trainer to help her improve her overall strength and speed.

You have to go into every race hard and you have to train your hardest, Schmidt said.



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