BALANCING ACT 300-METER HURDLE FIELD
While most freshmen try to make themselves invisible and just fit in, Dae Dae Robertson possesses an air of confidence that combined with her natural talent, has afforded her the opportunity to go where not many freshmen have gone before her.
The Rockdale hurdler will make an appearance at the 102nd UIL State Track Meet this Saturday at Mike Myers Stadium on the University of Texas.
She’ll compete in the 300-meter hurdles at 8:05 p.m. Saturday and will become just the fourth freshman in RHS history to make it to state along with Leslie Starnes (2003), Crystal Anderson (1999) and Jimette McNeil (1967). It’s an event where she has already broken the school record—twice.
A feat that becomes more impressive when you discover that she is a mere 14 years old.
Robertson offered a hint of her confidence level at the regional meet where she shattered her one-week old record in the 300-meters and qualified for the state meet.
“Her run in the regional meet was one of the most exciting things that I have ever seen,” said Rockdale track coach Stephanie Miller. “She had so much confidence, it was like, ‘I got this, I’ll see you when I’m done.
“We knew before the season started that she was going to be good and then we watched her progession throughout the season, we knew she had a chance to get there.
In the two-week time period since the district meet, when she topped Camille Campbell’s seven-year old record, Robertson has lopped off an incredible two seconds off the previous mark, from 47.56 to 45.10.
Track records are historically whittled down in tiny increments of hundredths of seconds, not seconds at a time.
“I’ve been around some who have had the potential, but there aren’t many who have the ability to accomplish like Dae Dae,” Miller said.
Miller points out that assistant track coach Jason Williams has worked closely with Robertson as hurdle coach.
Robertson showed some attitude as early as basketball season where she didn’t start, but was a definite spark-plug off the bench.
In one game against Taylor, the gangly 5-foot-7 powerhouse collected 19 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in just 13 minutes of play after missing two weeks with an ankle injury.
“She played one of the best games I have ever seen,” said Rockdale basketball coach Liz Galloway-McQuitter. “I know her potential and she played up to it.”
Despite her record-seting eforts, Robertson’s qualifying time is just the sixth best in the 300-meters field.
Oceana Ridge of Andrews leads the group with a clocking of 44.10. She finished sixth at last year’s state meet.
However, five of the hurdlers in the feld have times in the 45-second range, which means the race for a medal is wide open.
Cuero’s Abigail Sheppard is the defending state champion.
Robertson’s district and regional nemesis, College Station’s Gabbi Orzabal, has the slowest time at 46.36.
When Robertson takes the track Saturday night, Myers Stadium will be at full state meet capacity, meaning, there could be 20,000 people watching her every move.
“It doesn’t bother me at all. I ran at the Texas Relays. I think I’ll be able to block all of that out.
“I’m excited, I’m proud of myself, it also makes me feel like a leader.”
“It’s exciting to see what she has to show on Saturday,” Miller says. “To show show what hard work will do for you and pair that with natural talent and she’ll surprise a lot more people.”
Here is a list of Rockdale freshmen girls who have participated in
the state track meet:Name Event Year
Leslie Starnes pole vault 2003
Crystal Anderson 1600-relay 1999
Jimette McNeil high jump 1967
STATE TRACK MEET
What—UIL Class 3A State Track Meet When—Friday and Saturday, May 10-11 Where—Mike Myers Stadium, University of Texas campus Rockdale—Dae Dae Robertson, 300-meter hurdles, 8:05 p.m. Milano—Dominique Messer, triple jump, 10 a.m., 400-meter dash, 1:45 p.m. Thorndale—Keon Mays, 800-meter run, 12:20 p.m.; Thorndale sprint relay, Noon. (All events on Saturday).