Snipes aims to finish well

Published 8:58pm Saturday, March 1, 2014

King’s Fork High School senior Gabrielle Snipes is still very much a work in progress in track and field, but she has garnered some big wins that can help spur on further growth.

As a result of earning indoor regional championships in the long jump and the 4×200-meter relay, she claimed the title of Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.

King’s Fork High School’s Gabrielle Snipes won the long jump and 4x200-meter relay at regionals, then became the Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.
King’s Fork High School’s Gabrielle Snipes won the long jump and 4×200-meter relay at regionals, then became the Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.

“My long jump at regionals, I was actually shocked that I won,” Snipes said.

She leapt 17-feet-11-inches, an indoor personal record, and a full five inches farther than her nearest competition.

But things looked shaky during warm ups. During that time, an athlete works with their coach to make sure they are taking off at the right point, that their speed established on the runway is coming through in the jump and that their in-air form is correct.

“My coach, he was stuck in traffic, so at first, I was doing everything on my own,” Snipes said.

But then another coach and experienced jumper, Kisha Ricks, was able to come over and help her out.

Coach Ruchelle Ricks gave Snipes credit for executing what she needed to do in the actual performance, but said the best is yet to come.

“I think as far as the long jump is concerned, we’re going to see her improving as the season goes on, as we go into outdoors,” she said.

Snipes’ personal record for outdoor is 18-feet-6.5-inches.

Junior Courtney Ricks and seniors Danielle Hill and Roneka Spady made up the rest of the 4×200-meter relay team, but Snipes got things started, running the first leg.

“I think I could have gone a little faster, but I handed the baton off in the lead, so I was happy with that,” Snipes said.

Though it had previously qualified for states, the team did so once again at regionals with the top finish and a 4A state qualifying time of 1:46.40.

Snipes had also previously qualified individually in the long jump and the 55-meter dash.

Coach Ruchelle Ricks indicated this has been a tough year for Snipes, developmentally.

Near the mid-point between indoor and outdoor season in her fourth year on the team, Snipes evaluated her own progress.

“Right now, I’m pleased with it, but I know I can do a lot better,” she said.

She shared a major challenge she still wrestles to overcome in order to be successful.

“I think way too much when I’m at track meets,” she said.

Sometimes it messes her up, sometimes it actually helps her, she said, but seemed to lean toward the idea that it causes her to perform incorrectly.

To conquer this challenge, she said she needs to just relax and “do what I have to do in my race instead of just thinking about it so, so, so much.”

Her work ethic continues to be infectious to her team, but she deflected the credit back to them for her own development.

“Really my coaches and my team, they all help me out with everything I need,” she said. “We’re all basically a family, so we help each other out.”

Performing well for college coaches continues to be a major motivator for Snipes.

“Right now, with colleges, I have some schools looking at me,” she said. “I have a couple offering me right now, but I have yet to make my decision.”

She is also still trying to appeal to a broader array of programs, calling coaches to learn what she would need to do for them to consider recruiting her.

She summed up the process in general when she said, “I know I have to hit this certain mark for this person to look at me.”

She aims to use the upcoming outdoor season to put herself truly where she wants to be. She wants to run the 200-meter dash in 23 seconds, she wants to go 11.7 seconds or below in the 100-meter dash and in the long jump, “I would love to go at least 19 (feet) or higher,” she said.

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