One thing many people fail to realize is how much pressure is on elite athletes every time they step on the track. Not only do they personally want to succeed and win titles but their coaches, parents, teammates, and sometimes their entire state expect them to do so.
This past weekend Western Branch junior Adriana Shockley was at the center of a heartbreaking race. In the seeded section of the 4x55 shuttle hurdle relay it was the Bruins of Branch versus powerhouse Bullis.
In this race, which was expected to be a race that would take a national title to win, from the gun it was a two team race. Shockley was running third and had a lead over Bullis but something went wrong. When the incoming runner passed she did not flinch.
Call it getting caught up in the moment, anxiety, a mistake, or just a moment of overthinking. Whatever it was, it was heartbreaking not only for Western Branch but more specifically for Shockley. She spoke briefly in the interview above about it.
If Shockley was a runner at any other school this incident would have been handled differently. But at Branch they attack things head on and move forward. Something easy to do considering they return everyone on that relay next year as well.
Move on and up was exactly what Shockley and her Bruin teammates did. Just an hour later Adriana ran the 400m leg on the sprint medley relay that won their heat and held on to win them the national title. Talk about a huge rebound for this Virginia superstar.
In a interesting twist Adriana used this one split second lapse of perfection to show everyone not weakness but how tough she is to rebound so quickly on the biggest stage of our sport.