By Kevin Posival
Killeen Daily Herald
Tearra Roberson boils the 300-meter hurdles down to its first hurdle and its last 150 meters.
If anything is going to get in the Shoemaker junior's way, it is that first hurdle, but little can slow down Roberson's final kick.
"She's a little slower over the first one or two hurdles, but you'll see a different gear mid-race that'll put her past the other competitors," Shoemaker track coach Kevin Ellison said. "We've been working on getting her over those first two (hurdles) because there's not a lot of people that can run with her the second half of the race."
Roberson won both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles at the District 12-5A track meet two weeks ago and heads to the Region II-5A track meet at the Hart-Patterson Track & Field Complex on Friday for the third straight year.
Roberson, a self-described 'distance, not long-distance, runner,' just started running the 300 hurdles last year, but qualified for the regional meet in the event like she'd been doing it her whole life.
"As soon as I hit the curve, I'm like, 'OK, this is the 100-meter hurdles,' except there's not 10 hurdles, there's only four left," Roberson said. "I get a gut feeling. ... I just really push it out."
That kick does not have enough time to really manifest itself in the 100 hurdles, though she's qualified in that event all three years. Roberson said the curve is the difference.
"I think I'm more successful at the 300 hurdles rather than the 100," Roberson said. "It's more around the track rather than just a straightaway; I have a curve."
It's the curve where she can pull away or cover up any early race mistakes, namely the first hurdle.
Roberson cannot explain it, but for the first few weeks of the season, she clipped that first hurdle every other race. With her kick, she can overcome the gap in most races, But, if she's going to make it to Austin and the UIL state track meet for the first time, she's got to not only be flawless through those opening hurdles, but competitive.
"I'm going to have to really push myself. I'm going to have to be hungry, I'm going to have to be really hungry to beat some girls, "Roberson said. "I'm competitive, but I want to be more competitive. I want to be confident in myself and I'm going to work on my speed, that's the No. 1 thing - my speed work."
But it's not all-out speed, like in the 100 hurdles.
Ellison described Roberson's slow start and strong kick to be opposite of most hurdlers who are usually quick to get out of the blocks but also quick to fade down the stretch.
Roberson just seems to pick up speed.
"The second half of her race in the 3's is always her best part," Ellison said. "We had to focus on the first part of her race a little bit, which is the easier part to coach. Once I saw her run them in practice, that's one thing I figured out early on: She'd be able to run the 400 and she'd be able to run the 300 hurdles."
Roberson won the 300-meter hurdles in 46.45 seconds, the 100 hurdles in 15.669 seconds at the district meet and helped the Lady Grey Wolves win their first 12-5A track championship. She was also on Shoemaker's fourth-place 1,600 relay team.
"For the 300, my mind is set to get to the hurdle first, but for the 100, it's all speed and getting quicker off the hurdle," Roberson said. "The 300, it's speed and a finish."
Region Track Series
Monday: Belton's Levi Jordan
Today: Shoemaker's Tearra Roberson
Wednesday: Salado's Ashley Adams
Thursday: Harker Heights' Kiara McCoy
Friday: Lampasas' Zach Adams