After a promising start to her high-school track and field career last spring, it is safe to say that Orion sophomore Danielle Taets is well ahead of schedule in terms of success.
Coming off a stretch the previous week in which she earned three gold medals in the triple jump, 100-meter high hurdles and the 400-meter dash at Orion’s Charger Invitational and the Rockridge Invitational, Taets continued her torrid run at last Tuesday’s Golden Eagle Invitational with another gold-medal trifecta.
In the process, this week’s Dispatch•Argus•QCOnline Area Pacesetter established a school record in the 100 high hurdles, keeping that particular standard a family affair.
“I knew she’d held the record,” said Taets. “It (breaking the mark) was not really one of my top goals for this year, but she wanted me to break it. I was thinking, if it happened, it would happen. She was pretty happy for me.”
That same evening, Taets cleared an even 36 feet to win the triple jump, the event in which she qualified for state as a freshman last spring. She completed the night by taking the 300 low hurdles title in 48.46 seconds.
“I didn’t think I’d be doing this well, especially with how I ran last year, so I’m excited for the next few years,” she said. “Last year, I wasn’t really expecting a lot. I knew my limits. I wasn’t expecting to go to state, so when I did, it was pretty cool. I’m definitely looking to build on what I did last year.”
Taets, who also participated at last year’s 1A state meet with Orion’s 4×800 relay, gave her hometown fans an eyeful at the Charger Invite when she broke the school record in the triple jump by clearing 36-9.
While Taets has picked up an impressive armful of gold medals, her surge of success is not a recent phenomenon.
“Right from the beginning of the season, I thought I’ve been doing better than last year, so I think I’ve been at a pretty consistent level,” Taets said. “I wanted to start off good, and I also wanted to get better as the season went on. I feel like I’ve done that.”
With the season’s stretch drive arriving — including Friday’s Three Rivers Conference meet and then the 1A sectional meet the following week — Taets wants to maintain her current hot streak.
“There’s a lot of big meets coming up,” she said. “I hope to keep dropping my times and expanding my (triple jump) lengths, to get myself back to state.”
May 2, 2017