Every high school athlete dream of winning a state title in the sport that they participate in. The ultimate goal in track and field is to not only become a state champion in an event but to help your teammates win the state team title for their school. Skyye Lee checked all of those boxes this past weekend as she won two events, helped a pair of relays to the top of the podium and was a big part of the Parkway Central winning their first Class 4 state title in school history.
Lee set a new Class 4 record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.84 and then won the 300-meter hurdles with a mark of 43.76. She was also a part of the winning 4×200 meter and 4×400 meter relay teams that bought home state titles. The Colts scored 78 points to earn their first state title as a team.
The emotions after such a performance on the state’s biggest stage are unbelievable and you saw that from Lee once the first-place trophy was handed to the team Saturday afternoon. Especially since the Colts came so close last year with a runner-up finish in Jefferson City.
“Yes, I was just shocked that we did it after being so close last year,” stated Lee. “We really wanted it this year. We all said that we needed to put more work in and not slack in our practices and workouts.”
Being a leader within a track and field team can sometimes be tough because there are so many voices that are within the squad. Being a sophomore, Lee knows that her voice can be heard when it is needed.
“I feel like that is all of our responsibility to help the younger athletes out so that they keep going and that they are not too hard on themselves,” said Lee. “Track can take you out mentally and get into your head. So, we must carry each other and just keep fighting so that they can perform at the best of their ability.”
Knowing that they were so close last year, there was a core group of upperclassmen on the Colts track team that knew they would need to lead the charge this season and get the state title that eluded them.
Yes, it was our group that kept things going this year,” stated Lee. “When we got to Jefferson City last weekend and the events were getting closer and closer, we got more motivated. We wanted to make sure that we worked hard and that everyone stayed healthy and was at the top of their game.
The hurdle events are two of the most difficult and demanding in the sport because you must combine both sprinting and jumping. Plus, you also need to put together the right technique to be successful. Plus, you need to start working on the events at a young age. That is when Lee started to work on being the state champion hurdler that she is.
“Coach Sue, who was my summer coach, got me to do hurdles,” said Lee. “She motivated me to keep going and she kept pushing me because she knew that I could do it. There were times when I wanted to give up. You must be mentally strong to do this event because you are both running and jumping, but you also need to have endurance.”
When Lee got to Parkway Central, she started with one of the best hurdle coaches in the area. Steve Warren is not only an assistant on the Colts boys’ track and field team, but he knows hurdles better than anyone in the area.
“Originally, I was only a 300-meter hurdler, not a short-distance hurdler,” said Lee. “I did not like the 100 at all because it is different steps, and you must have the steps right. I thought that the event was too quick, and I would struggle in getting the steps down that quickly. I was scared to death about the 100-meter, but Coach Warren saw potential in me and said that we were going to work and keep trying until you get it. He always said that if you keep practicing, you will be able to do it.”
The balance between practice and getting the work done in the classroom is important, especially early in a student-athlete high school career. Lee has developed a plan to be successful in both aspects.
“I have learned to use any time that I have at the end of class to get a jump start on my assignments,” said Lee. “That way, when I am done with practice, I can finish the rest of my homework. Because of how we work at practices, I am tired, but if I have work to do, I just tell myself to get it done.”
Being a sophomore and now a state champion in two individual events and a pair of relays, the goals are very simple for Lee.
“I want to keep breaking that record in the 100-meter and possibly set a record in the 300-meter,” stated Lee. “I know that if I keep working hard, I could set the all-class record.”
Congratulations to Skyye Lee from the Parkway Central girls’ track and field team on earning this week’s HSSC/Scoops with Danny Mac Student-Athlete of the Week.
Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at email@example.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan