Road to Cuba: Dylan Peebles, Blog #2

by Steve Underwood

During these final weeks leading up to and including our 2015 Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Cuba, two of the participating athletes are blogging for us: Dylan Peebles and Anna Cockrell (see her blog HERE).

Dylan is a junior at Wakefield HS in Raleigh, North Carolina and the recent runner-up in the NCHSAA North Carolina state 4A 200m dash. He also won the 4A state title in the 300m indoors. He is a rising sprint star in the Tar Heel State with 55m to 400m range and we look forward to his being part of our Team NSAF! This is his 2nd entry (see the first HERE).

My junior indoor track season went way better than I had planned, or even thought it could be.  Coming into the season, I didn’t really set any goals that I wanted to accomplish in the 300-meter dash or 55-meter dash.  I thought I could probably run a 36 in the 300, but I had not really thought about the time that I wanted to hit in the 55 because the it isn’t my best race.

A few days before my first indoor meet, my goal was just to run a personal record in both the 300 and 55.  I accomplished that.  In my first race, I improved my time by over two seconds in the 300 and three-tenths of a second in the 55.  I was very pleased with the longer race because I had only been training for track for a few weeks before the first meet.  I was also very nervous about what I would actually run that day.  After I finished the 300 and went to talk with my coach, Trevor Graham, he immediately said I could run a 46 in the 400.

Coach Trevor is a great 400-meter coach, so I knew he could get me to run the times he and I set as goals.  He has coached many Olympians, so his comment really made me believe I could actually run the times he said I could run.  His comment really shocked me, because the year before I was only splitting 50s in the 4x4 at meets.  So then it really hit me that I could run some fast times and get attention from colleges.  Also, my Dad had been stressing that it would all come together by my junior year.  He told me to just be patient, because it came together for him in his junior year.

After this, I set some real goals, including winning the 300-meter dash in the 4A indoor state championship meet.  I knew it would take a lot of hard work, and that’s exactly what I did!  I have never trained so hard for track in my life.  My coach knew the goal I set for myself, so he pushed me even harder because he knew I had a lot potential.  Even though I didn’t have any competitor to push me in practice, I still tried my hardest to meet the times he said I needed to run if I wanted to run fast times in the meets.

Every day, I ran faster than he said I needed to, and it paid off in the meets.  Each meet I ran, I ran a personal record by at least five-tenths of a second in the 300.  And then the state meet came a few weeks later.  I came in ranked second … and I knew the guy ranked ahead of me, so it was kind of a “friendly competition.”  But it wasn’t really friendly for me because my mindset is that I have no friends when I step on track.  Before every race I get mentally prepared and I was definitely mentally prepared for this race (4A indoor state 300).  There was no way I could lose this race after all the hard work I put in this year.  No way!

When they announced the final call for the 300, all I could think about was winning this race.  I was very nervous because this was my first time running in an open event in the state meet.  Finally, they had called us on the track, and I heard the announcer call my name and the crowd start yelling, and I got even more nervous.  But I always run great under pressure so I stayed focused.

We got in the blocks and it was on!  I got out good for the first 100 meters, then sat on the guy in front of me.  I was in control of the race and I was waiting on the person inside of me to catch up, but he never did.  He had just run the 500-meter dash before this race, so he was still a little tired.

We got to the 200-fmeter mark, with 100 left, and I always try to hit another gear no matter what race it is.  So I did, and as soon as I did that, I pulled away from the rest of the competitors in the race.  Coming home in the last 50, I was looking at the clock the whole way, but I was also still digging and pushing as hard as I could.  I had increased the lead to over 10 meters, my coach said.  But he also said I gave up that 33-second opportunity by looking at that clock – because it looked like I wasn’t digging hard while I was looking at the clock.

But I still ran a personal record of 34.53 seconds and I was a state champion.  It didn’t hit me until I left the meet that I had won states and accomplished my goal of the season, to be a state champion!  My time ended up being the 12th-fastest time in the U.S. and the 8th-fastest time all-time for North Carolina.

Photo courtesy of Jeff George,

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