In her first season of high school track, Springfield freshman Jada Mowery has overpowered the competition.

In her first season of high school track, Springfield freshman Jada Mowery has overpowered the competition.

Then again, that's nothing new for Mowery. While she's getting used to breaking records on the track, her athletic background is equally filled with success in the world of power lifting and body building. For the past two years, she has competed in amateur lifting events. Her involvement with lifting competitively began after her seventh grade year.

"I was in body building before I did (track). I was really into lifting weights and I was really into the physique of the body building girls and what they were doing. My mom told me over a year's time that she would give me $1,000 if I looked a certain way," Mowery said.

Eventually, the strain of a busy schedule filled with school, studying and trips to the gym wore on her and Mowery decided to scale back her body building schedule. She plans to return to the sport on a limited basis this summer, but the benefits of her workouts have played a role in her success as a sprinter.

Her powerful frame is difficult to miss as she takes her place in the blocks alongside competitors. The strength in her legs provides an extra push in exploding from the blocks and the wins have followed in bulk.

"Jada has taken to sprinting like a fish to water. It comes vey natural to her," first-year head coach Kevin Gorby said. "Jada has improved her work ethic, which in turn has translated into very fast times and a school record."

As part of a talented freshman class that has pumped life into the Springfield program, Mowery broke the school record in the 100 meters with a time of 12.7 in a meet at Mogadore. Her time shaved .3 seconds off the previous mark and it was the latest feat in a season that has given Mowery name recognition beyond the halls of Springfield High School.

"They target me. Like last night at the meet (at Field), some girl told me, 'Jada, you're going to blow them out. You don't know me, but I just know you because you're fast,'" Mowery said. "It's pretty cool that people actually care about my times and what I run."

Despite having success running in junior high, Mowery wasn't sure she would have that same level of success as a freshman. She began the year believing that high school competitors would be a much bigger challenge and that she would have to work even harder to stay on pace.

She targeted the school record in the 100 as one of her goals, but wasn't sure she would break it within one month of her first high school meet. Mowery attributes a portion of her progress to the connection she has forged with Gorby and the coaching staff, all of whom are in their first year at the school.

"I like it because we're both learning each other and we're both new at it," Mowery said.

Mowery was one of about 20 athletes who took part in the school's first foray into the world of indoor track and field last winter. Under the direction of Gorby, Mowery competed at meets at the University of Akron and Kent State. A higher level of competition provided the motivation and experience to further Mowery's development and to helped acclimate her to the high school level.

With three years left in her high school career, Mowery isn't looking too far ahead. Her current goal is setting another school record and earning a trip to Columbus for the state championships this spring. Where she goes from there is a subject to which she hasn't given much thought. She is, however, confident that she has the strength to get there.

Reach Andy at 330-580-8396 or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
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