Missing finals in 400 at state last season motivates Gieck

That one-thousandth of a second has been in the back of Alicia Gieck’s mind since last May.

The Delta High School sprinter had her sights set on reaching the finals in the 400-meter dash at last year’s Class 4A state championships.

She came close — oh, so close.

In the preliminaries, Gieck crossed the line in 1 minute, 2.07 seconds. The problem was, it was the same time registered by ninth-place finisher Amani Ashby of Cherokee Trail.

The top nine finishers in the prelims qualified for the finals. It came down to one one-thousandth of a second to break the tie. Gieck lost.

“It was heartbreaking,” Gieck said.

She has used that letdown as fuel for this season.

Her main area of emphasis has been at the starting line.

“I get on the blocks,” she said, relentlessly practicing her starts. “That’s the biggest thing.”

By her account, Gieck is slow out of the starting blocks.

“Girls get a few steps on me at the start,” she said. “It really hurts me.”

She’s taken note of trying to get out as fast as possible without jumping the gun.

In an attempt to improve her acceleration, she’s been known to take longer steps at the start, which has actually slowed her.

“I’ve worked hard on my first two steps,” Gieck said, shortening them up so she doesn’t overstride.

If last Saturday’s Mickey Dunn Invitational was any indication, her work in the early season has paid off. Gieck won the 400 meters in 1:00.68, finishing more than two-tenths of a second ahead of the pack. For good measure, she also won the 200 meters.

Ultimately, she hopes to get her time below 57 seconds in the 400 by the time the state meet rolls around. That will go a long way toward helping her achieve her primary goal.

“(I want) to make the finals in state this year,” she said, last year’s finish still firmly in her mind.


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