Observer-Reporter Athlete of the Week
Name: Alyssa Wise
Wise’s week: Running with an injured left hamstring, Wise rewrote the record books at the WPIAL Individual Track & Field Championships at Baldwin High School, taking first place in the Class AA 100-meter dash.
Her time of 11.95 in the 100 broke the meet record that was set 13 years ago by Lauryn Williams of Rochester. Williams went on to become an Olympic medalist in the 100 at the 2004 Games in Greece, a gold medalist in the World Championships in Helsinki in 2005 and at the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic in 2003.
Plenty of nerves: After qualifying in the 100 at the WPIAL Individual Qualifiers, the Pitt recruit was forced to sit out the 200-meter dash – preventing her from defending the state title she won in the event last year.
The days following her injury at South Side Beaver High School were emotional and nerve-racking. Wise was not sure if she would compete at the WPIAL championships.
“All I did was cry when I found out I wouldn’t be able to run the 200,” Wise said. “It just ate me up, and I just had to swallow it and move on.”
Prior to Thursday’s meet, Wise did not execute one sprint. She took a hand-off in the relay at practice, jogged around the track and worked on her starts.
After running the 100-meter dash, Wise aggravated the injury after running the 400 relay, still helping the Prexies take second place and qualifty for the state championships.
One day her hamstring seems to feel better and the next pain will shoot up her left leg. A cautious approach to championship week was the last thing Wise anticipated when she set a goal to reclaim her state titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Even when she arrived at a rainy Baldwin complex Thursday, she could not shake the nerves.
“I was surprised because earlier in the week, we couldn’t really run her,” Wash High assistant coach Richie Barnes said. “At first, I had doubts she was going to run, but she went to therapy to get it rubbed out. She didn’t run at practice. We let her jog, stretch and we didn’t want to run her.”
Explosion: Despite already owning three WPIAL gold medals and two state titles, Wise refused to be complacent. Looking to improve her start off the blocks, she turned to Barnes and weight training.
Barnes had Wise do power cleans and dead lifts in the weight room. Her summer was spent there, as well as running sprints in the hallways at the high school.
“It’s been real good for her,” Barnes said. “At first, she really didn’t (like it), but once I got her into it she got addicted. It helped with her explosion. We do power cleans and that helps with that. When she comes out of that block, she comes out and she maintains.”
While Wise punched her ticket to this weekend’s state championship meet – her fourth trip to Shippensburg University – the doubts regarding her hamstring remain.
“My stomach hurts just thinking about it,” Wise said. “I’m pretty nervous for the (relay) because that’s how I hurt it again at WPIALs. I think if it holds up, we have a chance to actually do something up there.”
Compiled by Lance Lysowski