The human body is meant to be active, up, and moving around, and what better way to accomplish this than to run.

Marisa Parks is the assistant athletic director and head coach for the girls track and field team here at DSHS, and she has led her girls to have a very successful season. With multiple athletes qualifying for regional competition and senior Sydney Cole signing to compete at the collegiate level.

“We are heading into the regional Meet this weekend. We have 14 athletes qualified,” Parks said. “Currently we have three girls holding current school records: Sydney Loveless (sophomore) – triple jump – 36’-7.5”, Avery Kalsu (freshman) – 400m – 57.83 and Sydney Cole – 1600m – 5:12.82. Going into regionals this year, we have a great chance to get some athletes qualified for the state championship. Avery Kalsu (400m), Hannah Biggs (100m hurdles) and Sydney Cole (1600m) have the top times coming in. I’m so proud of the athletes that made it this far. In addition, we have Lightsey Puryear (junior) in the 300m Hurdles, Sydney Loveless in triple jump, the 4x400m relay of Sydney Burtch, Kyndall Womack, Frankie Lord and Avery Kalsu.”

With these kind of stats, the competition is tough, and senior Sydney Cole has taken it in stride. So much so that she will be attending and running for A&M Corpus Christi this fall.

“I have started to love [running],I’m good at it, it’s fun, and it keeps you in shape,” Cole said. “Whenever I get tired during a race, I usually think ‘I want this more than the person next to me’.”

Cole is a seasoned competitor for DSHS, and her coach has been there the whole time.

“Sydney Cole has been a joy to coach,” Parks said. “She has a very determined work ethic and competitiveness. It has been evident in all of her races from the 800m on the track to the 5K in cross country. It’s been fun to watch Sydney mature as an athlete. She has always been talented, but it wasn’t until her junior year that she seemed to fully grasp her potential and turn it into great success. It was like a light bulb switched on last year, and she has great determination and focus. I hope she truly enjoys the college athletic experience and is able to excel on the track and in cross country. I do see Sydney as a lifelong competitor, and hope to see her competing beyond college. So far, her PR (personal record) is 2:19 for 800m, 5:12 for 1600m, 11:39 for 3200m and 19:24 for 5K in cross country.”

A&M Corpus is on its own island in the corner of Corpus Christi, offering a huge variety of majors. With endless stretches of beach that Cole will be able to spend her off time running on, right outside of her dorm.

“I’m excited to make more progress to become a better runner and meet new friends,” Cole said. “I’ve always wanted to go to that school. They offer a really good education. I’m looking to major in early childhood education, so kindergarten.”

With college to look forward to, Cole is well on her way and is spending the rest of senior year with Coach Parks and the rest of the team as they make their way to regionals and hopefully state.

“It’s been such a fun season,” Parks said. “We have a lot of young, new ladies on the team that have brought a lot of talent.  It’s been a great mix of upperclassmen and freshmen. We finished just a few points out of 2nd place in the team competition at district. We have a bright future. I just truly want the athletes to succeed, but have an enjoyable experience as well. Track doesn’t receive a lot of glory as a sport, so the athletes really need to take pride in their work and achievements. It’s pure grit, determination and tests your work ethic. It’s an intrinsic reward.”

In the words of Sydney Cole, “Once you become a runner, you never really stop.” As the girls head into regionals, and future endeavors, their years running for DSHS continue to stay with them through it all.

Written by Giselle Galletti, Staff Writer