The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

May 8, 2013

EHS' McCoy motivated for state track meet

ENID, Okla. — Enid assistant coaches Kareem Sears and Shawn Mills found a way to motivate quartermiler Alex McCoy.

Just call him by his first name — Leon.

“They started calling me that and I asked them what can I do to stop it,’’ McCoy said.

They told him to break 22 seconds in the 200 and run in the 49s in the 400. He did both.

“I worked really hard to be called Alex again,’’ McCoy said. “It’s motivation.’’

But that motivation pales to what will push McCoy in the 800 and 1,600-meter relays at the state meet Friday and Saturday.

He ran in the 1,600-meter relay twice, both times coming back without a medal.

“When you have gone to the state meet in the same event and failed twice, it makes the third time more important than the others,’’ McCoy said. “I have a lot more urgent attitude with this being my last track meet. It’s really do-or-die right now.’’

The 1,600-meter relay had high hopes last year of a medal, but didn’t even make the finals.

“That does motivate you to work hard and make sure to run hard and finish,’’ McCoy said. “It’s exciting to go back again and get a chance for a medal.’’

McCoy and Seth Handley are the lone two returnees from that relay. Alex Lofton and Raheem Mitchell have been added.

The quartet has six gold medals this spring, including a regional championship with a time of 3:27.3. Their best time has been a 3:24.88 at Bethany.

“Our handoffs are better and have we have stronger and better people,’’ McCoy said. “This year we’re just ready to compete.’’

He credits Sears and Mills for giving the relay a new attitude.

“They gave us a different outlook on ourselves,’’ McCoy said. “Before, we just went out and ran. Now, they have us believing we are the team to beat and a lot of teams have to look at us. It’s a big attitude change.’’

The new attitude has given the Plainsmen more confidence.

“But at the same time, there’s a target on our backs,’’ McCoy said. “All of the teams are out to get us. It’s a nice thing to have, but it’s something you can’t take too lightly.’’

Enid head coach Joe Miranov calls McCoy “the cornerstone of the team.’’

“He’s the guy that keeps everybody mellowed out,’’ Miranov said. “He keeps everyone low key. He’s been a quiet leader for the team.’’

Off the track, McCoy is laid back, enjoying hanging out with friends, video games and bowling.

On the track, McCoy’s competitive nature kicks in.

“I do notice a change when it’s time to compete,’’ he said. “I get more focused and more serious. I go from laid back to go get ’em.

“Competition is the best thing about track. I go out and get to run against other people and then say I’m faster. Winning is a great feeling. Coming in first is just fun.’’

McCoy was an at-large selection for state in the 400 meters finishing sixth in the regionals (51.7). Teammates Lofton and Handley were first and third.

“We have a good rivalry,’’ McCoy said. “We joke around a lot, but when we get to the 400, it gets more serious. Instead of being teammates, we go out and compete against each other. It’s a little bit more fun beating friends.’’

He said making the 400 “is always an honor.’’ It’s a little bit more meaningful to him because he didn’t expect to make it.

“My approach is to have fun,’’ he said about the open 400. “I have to remind myself to run my race and don’t be too concerned about everyone else. I just run it like I always do.’’

He still prefers the relays to the open events because of teamwork.

He runs the second leg on the 800 relay (with Mitchell, Marshawn Mills and Handley) and third leg of the 1,600.

He said handoffs “are essential’’ to success in both events

“You have to come together as a team,’’ he said. “Everyone has to do their jobs.’’

His goals are to go under 1:30 in the 800 relay and break 3:20 in the 1,600. McCoy wants to break 49 seconds and set a school record in the open 400.

“I still get a little nervous before state, but it’s not as bad as it used to be. I don’t have any pre-race routines. I just take time to focus and run.’’

In the 400, he said one has to get a good start, but have enough to make a full push sprint in the last 100 meters.

“The last 100 meters will make or break you,’’ he said. “I have a good kick, but I need to work on it before state.’’

McCoy plans to attend Oklahoma State and walk on in track. His dream is to be an aerospace engineer.

“Since I was  kid, I’ve liked airplanes and stuff like that,’’ McCoy said. “I thought it would be cool to design them the rest of my life.’’

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