Boyd Anderson (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.)
senior Shayla Sanders, who leads the nation in the 100-meter dash (11.3
seconds) and the 200 (23.25), was a sixth-grade cheerleader
when her father asked her to to try out for track.
like I was forced," the 5-foot-8 star told MaxPreps, "but I wanted to
give it a try. Then I didn't like it, so I quit."
Actually, she only quit for about 30 minutes, because after arriving at home she promptly was sent back to track practice.
Sanders explained that her coach started her in the 400 and 800 and it was just
too long. In seventh grade she got her first taste of the sprints by
running on two relays and the next year she began running the
open 100 and 200 and fell in love with track. During the Broward County
Championships, she won the 100 and long jump and placed second in the
200, scoring enough points to win the team title by herself.
was so short and fast," she said. "I wouldn't have to
run around the whole track. I just had to run the straightaway."
Anderson assistant coach Damion Thomas, who watched her eighth grade
performance, recalled, "She was a very good, natural runner who ran real
fearless and had good acceleration."
Sickness slowed her fall
development as a high school freshman. She did qualify for the Class 4A
state finals in the 100, but did not place.
Thomas noted that
her sophomore year is "where everything really got popping for her. She
got her conditioning in the fall (after missing it as a freshman) and
qualified for the state (in four events). That's how we knew she was
going to be really good."
She placed third in the 100 and eighth in the long jump.
During her junior year, she was able to drop the long jump and a relay to just concentrate on the sprints. Sanders agreed with her coach's decision, because "I had to drop my times and colleges were looking at me."
the Jimmy Carnes Invitational, she ran the 55 in 6.94, which was the No. 3 indoor clocking in the nation at the time. During
the outdoor state meet, she placed second in the 100, just .04 seconds
behind the champion, who passed her near the finish line. She actually
had to anchor the 4x100 relay, too, because one of the regular members
injured her leg. That relay brought home the gold.
"It was great
because I did something good for the team," Sanders acknowledged. "When
I got to the 200 I was out of breath. I was second and it was not that
close. I believe I could have won (without the relay)."
Sanders later placed second in the 100 and 200 during the prestigious Golden South Invitational in Orlando, Fla.
to the Dream 100 in New York City, she began to realize the
educational benefits of track. It marked her first trip to New York and
first airplane flight. Unfortunately, race day was filled with cold, rainy weather - the worst she ever had encountered - and she finished fifth.
also had a frustrating performance during the Myrtle Beach, S.C.,
trials for the World Youth Championships. She finished third in the 100
and fourth in the 200. Had she taken second in either event, she would
have qualified for the finals in France.
"I was so ready for the race," she stressed. "Mother Nature got me - I was cramping. It was heartbreak."
She never tasted heartbreak during her brilliant senior year, however. She
launched her final campaign with more education and a national-best
indoor time during the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle.
was surprised I got invited, because I never had heard about it,"
Sanders said. "It was something different - a very long flight. We had
to stop in Minnesota. I took pictures of snow. It was drippity drop. I
tried to catch it."
At the meet, she ran the 60 for
the first time in her career. She was timed in 7.26 seconds in the
prelims, then won the finals in a record 7.21 seconds, which was No. 1
in the nation throughout the indoor season. It also is No. 2 all-time
(the record is 7.19).
She later doubled at the Jimmy Carnes Invitational, taking the 55 in 6.85 and the 200 in 23.89.
the Sam Burney Invitational, she set records in the 100 (11.56) and the
200 (23.25). Her 200 time still is the 2012 national outdoor-best.
2012 national-best 100 time of 11.33 was established during the Broward
County meet. She actually ran an 11.32 into a slight headwind during
the regional, but it was not counted because no wind gauge was
During the Class 4A state meet, Sanders overcame an
ailing leg to win the 100 (11.63), 200 (23.64) and anchor the
record-breaking 4x100 relay (45.71). It marked her first individual state
She continued her outstanding running by winning the 100
(11.40) and 200 (23.44) during the prestigious Golden South Invitational in Orlando, Fla. Certainly a big improvement.
"I've become more humble and come closer
to God. I give the glory to him. He keeps me humble on the inside and on
She added, "I love the weight room. It's my favorite place to go. You can't be girlie in track and field."
Thomas has been pleased by her performance on and off the field.
revealed, "She's probably the goofiest girl you'll ever meet. She's
always laughing and joking around and really full of life. She gets a
lot of publicity for the school and we're very, very proud of what she
has accomplished. I'm not surprised (by her success). I tell her all the
time that if she continues to work hard, don't be surprised by what you
Sanders agrees that she is pretty happy-go-lucky, at least outside of track. She conceded, "You look at most of my pictures and I'm laughing. But when it comes to track, I'm serious."
Boyd Anderson star has a 3.4 GPA and chose the University of Florida
over Central Florida for the next level. She plans to study pre-med and
become a pediatrician.
This summer, however, she has her eyes set
on the Dream 100 in New York City and qualifying for the World Youth
Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
In the long-term,
Thomas said, "I think she can go all the way to the Olympics gold medal.
The 100 is her favorite, but she'll excel in both (100 and 200) and can
make the Olympics in both. She hasn't run her best yet."