Photo by Brian Paglia / By this time next week, Woodland’s DeAndra Greer could officially be the fastest girls high school sprinter in the county at the Henry County Track and Field Championships
STOCKBRIDGE - On Monday, DeAndra Greer made one of the most significant moves of her career - she got a passport.
The Woodland sophomore sprinter doesn’t even know if she’ll use it yet, but its necessity is evidence of Greer’s precocious talent.
She may or may not run for the USA World Youth Team this summer in Ukraine. All that depends on a trials meet in Edwardsville, Ill., in late June.
But USA Track and Field is watching, which says enough.
“We’re hoping and praying,” Linda Greer, her mother, said.
DeAndra Greer is 5-foot-4 with dark wavy hair and a soft face and voice. Intimidating? Hardly.
But Greer could be ready to explode.
“She’s a very serious competitor,” Woodland coach Dion Stokes said. “She has a lot of natural ability. We try to enhance and build on that. But she’s a very talented young lady.”
Last season as a freshman, Greer finished third in the 100 meters and fifth in the 200 at the Class AAAA championships despite a tender hamstring that kept her out of the Henry County Track and Field Championships.
Last month, at the USATF Youth Indoor National Championship in Landover, Md., she finished first in the 55 (7.24) and third in the 200 (26.26) which put her on the USATF All-State indoor team.
On Saturday, at the Gary Townsend Invitational at Drew, she finished second in the 100 (12.34), just .03 seconds behind Jonesboro’s Skyia Hampton (12.31), another top sprinter in Class AAAA.
But, wait, slow down, because Greer is really is starting to speed up. Saturday’s race was her first of the high school season and first 100 since last summer. The plan was to give Greer a meet to transition into the high school season before the county championships next Tuesday and Thursday at Strong Rock Christian.
“Hopefully it’ll be easy,” Greer said. “I think I’ll do well because I have the top-end speed, so I just have to hold that through the rest of the race.”
“I expect a smooth transition,” Stokes said. “She’s got a good base, a good foundation that’s she’s coming in with. So we’re going to take that and blend it in with what we do and she should be fine. She’ll get that one meet under her belt and her confidence will grow.”
Consider it blossoming - her time from the Gary Townsend Invitational already comes in at No. 8 in Class AAAA, according to Ga.milesplit.com.
Greer already came in with greater confidence this season. It was enough for her to reach the state meet last season as a freshman, let alone place in two events.
“It was really exciting for me,” Greer said. “For most freshmen, you know, it’s kind of hard because the upperclassmen don’t expect a freshman to come in and place in the top. So I was really happy about that.”
Greer made a similar entrance into track - with a surprise. Her bestfriend in third grade ran track, but when it came time for field day at school, Greer beat her every time.
That set off a chain of events that brought her to the Jaguar Track Club in DeKalb County at age 8. Her friend’s dad told her to come to a practice, the coach called her parents and just like that Greer became a sprinter.
“I wasn’t going for track,” Greer said, “but since they asked me to do it, after I started running a little I enjoyed it.”