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New to the 800-meter run, Drake wasted little time mastering the event

Posted: June 14, 2009 10:04 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Valencia High's Aly Drake is the 2009 All-Santa Clarita Valley Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

 
Aly Drake runs fast. And she learns fast.

When her junior season ended, a CIF state title in the 800-meter run was the furthest thing from her mind.

It wasn't her event. Track wasn't her sport.

She had primarily run shorter races for most of her career, and she was much more focused on playing soccer in college. Track was just a way to stay in shape during the offseason.

That all changed a few months ago when she decided, with her coaches, that the 800 offered the best chance for success.

They broke down the 800, dividing the race into separate parts with a target time for each one. Drake's willingness to listen and learn helped her master the race.

At the first Foothill League meet of the year against Saugus, Drake ran the 800 in 2 minutes, 14.80 seconds, breaking her own school record at the time by almost four seconds.

By the time the league prelims rolled around, her time was down by a full second, and she repeated her prelim performance to win the Foothill League title in the event.

But there was more to accomplish.

Drake faced stiff competition at the CIF-Southern Section Division I finals, where she ran against both the defending state champion and the girl with the section's top time.

Drake laid waste to both with a strong kick over the final 100 meters, surprising even herself with a winning time of 2:09.95.

That mark caught the attention of the University of San Francisco, where Drake had committed to play soccer in the winter.

The scholarship wasn't a full ride. It covered 70 percent of her tuition.

But the Dons' track team was ready to swoop in, and two weeks after the divisional finals, Drake signed a letter of intent to run track in college.

It covered the final 30 percent of her tuition.

Meanwhile, there was still more ground to cover at the CIF State Track and Field Championships.

Drake won the state title in 2:07.45, a time that would have tied for fifth at this year's Pac-10 championships.

She overpowered chief rival Carlyle Davis of Marlborough and shattered the Santa Clarita Valley's previous record time of 2:08.97, set by former Canyon star and Cal Golden Bear Alysia Johnson.

A league title. A divisional title. A state title. A school record.

And now, Aly Drake is The Signal's 2009 All-Santa Clarita Valley Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Drake has nothing left to accomplish in the 800 at the high school level.

She now turns her attention to college, where she must learn to juggle two different NCAA Division I sports with her schoolwork.

Odds are she'll learn quickly.


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