Lisbon High School racewalker Sydney Douglass (9) cuts to the front of the field during arace at Lisbon High School earlier this season.

Lisbon High School racewalker Sydney Douglass (9) cuts to the front of the field during arace at Lisbon High School earlier this season.

Sydney Douglass does these nifty flip throw-ins for the Lisbon girls’ soccer team in the fall.

In winter, Douglass does flips and tricks for the Greyhounds’ state–champion cheerleading team.

In the spring, she racewalks.

Taking nothing from the merits of and skill required for racewalking, but that’s kind of a departure from the high-flying actions of her other sports.

“Coming into my freshman year, (Lisbon assistant) coach (Hank) Fuller was like, ‘We’re going to try you in racewalk,’ and I was like, ‘Uh, I don’t know about that,’” Douglass said. “And I did it, and I got first the first meet and I got second at states freshman year, so I was like, ‘OK, I guess this is my thing.’”

The success has continued into her junior season. Douglass enters Saturday’s Class C state championship meet ranked second in the 1,600-meter racewalk (behind St. Dominic Academy’s Sydney Sirois and just ahead of Monmouth’s Tori Spencer) at Foxtcroft Academy.

While Douglass’ acrobatics might seem like they come from a different world than racewalking, Fuller said they actually make her a perfect fit.

“She’s very athletic,” Fuller, who coaches the Greyhounds’ racewalkers, said. “I found over the years that cheerleaders and dancers make really good racewalkers, because they’re loose and limber. And, interestingly enough, cross country (runners) and wrestlers, that combination makes good racewalkers, I’ve found.”

The racewalk isn’t Douglass’ only event at Saturday’s state meet. She’ll also compete in the 800-meter run, pole vault and 4×400 relay. Douglass said the relay is her most exciting event, but the racewalk is the one that’s on her mind heading into the state meet.

“Because I know that’s my race. And I just really want to place,” Douglass said. “I think I can do it, but that’s what I’m most nervous about.”

After placing second in Class C her freshman season in 2014, Douglass finished fourth as a sophomore last year.

While success came quickly, racewalking doesn’t necessarily come easy to Douglass.

“Yeah, it’s really hard,” she said. “And we have a really good coach (Fuller), and he’s all about form, so you just have to do what he tells you to do and you just have to trust him.”

And that right there probably has as much to do with Douglass’ racewalk success as her athleticism.

“She’s the kind of kid that does what you ask her to do when she’s coached,” Fuller said.

It paid off at the Mountain Valley Conference championships last week when Douglass finally beat Spencer, whom she had been finishing behind for most of the past few seasons, by patiently sticking with her and then pulling away on the final turn of the final lap.

The Douglass-Spencer racewalk showdown was as exciting, if not more so, than any other event at the conference championship meet.

That race also showed something else about Douglass.

“Don’t let that friendly personality fool you,” Fuller said. “She likes to compete. I think she likes a challenge.”

Douglass finished the race in 8:13.58, which is a personal best and a new school record, beating Lindsey Whitney’s 8:20.80 from 2012.

“It’s amazing,” Douglass said. “It’s (better than) my PR from freshman year even, because last year and this year I haven’t been doing as well as I did freshman year.

“So knowing I beat my PR from freshman year and the school record is amazing.”

Douglass also won the 800 title  at MVCs, and finished third in the pole vault and helped the Greyhounds place third in the 4×400 relay.

Lisbon High School racewalker Sydney Douglass (9) cuts to the front of the field during arace at Lisbon High School earlier this season.

Lisbon High School racewalker Sydney Douglass (9) cuts to the front of the field during arace at Lisbon High School earlier this season.

Lisbon’s Sidney Douglass winds up for a flip throw-in against Oak Hill last October.

Lisbon’s Sidney Douglass winds up for a flip throw-in against Oak Hill last October.

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