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8th Grader Grace Ping To Race Pros In Seattle

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  • 8th Grader Grace Ping To Race Pros In Seattle

    Is a headline on the home page.

    It gave me pause. Is this supposed to be a good thing?

    All I can think is 'here's an efficient path to burn-out: put an EIGHTH grader in with pros. if she does well, she'll feel the burden of expectation for ever more. If she does poorly, her competitive identity is harmed. Everyone can tell her it's OK - they're older professionals - but the very act of putting her in the race stipulates that people think she can hold her own (and she may!). She can do a Mary Cain. How's that working out? Or maybe she'll pull off a Mary Decker. She was indeed a champion, but most people agree she had her demons. Jordan Hasay seems to be a good example of turning out fine, but she is a rara avis.

    I'm as gung-ho about her prospects as anyone, but haven't we learned that this could back-fire . . . big time?

    The foregoing is just a personal opinion. I'd like to hear what others think.
    The apparent hypocrite me in me is dying for the Mondo Ds of the world to challenge the big boys, but it sure seems to me that young distance girls are more prone to problems than sprint/hurdle/field eventers.

  • #2
    I have no problem with the concept per se, but my concern is always with overbearing coaches/parents who indeed rob kids of their childhood. So long as it remains truly fun, and not work, it's fine.

    Having said that, I wouldn't be at all opposed to an outright ban on such things.

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    • #3
      Competing at whatever level---against whomever---should be based on ability---and potential to run with that group---and not be last and getting lapped 2 or 3 times---even if that "lap" is 307 meters!!

      Ping herself doesn't seem fazed by the labels given to her competitors----HS'ers of whatever grade, Collegians, or even Pro's!
      I doubt she's expecting to win---or even come close!
      But look at her record so far---as a 12, and now 13, year old!
      It's incredible!

      My own personal "Bah Humbug" to her running in Seattle is that whatever time she runs will NOT matter for historic record or list purposes---due to the OT rules!!

      I just hope she'll be invited to a LEGAL track race this INdoor season!!

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      • #4
        Alana Hadley seems to be another recent example of too much, too soon. There have been others in the past, of course.

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        • #5
          Hadley's "too much" was a function of event selection which implied much too much training mileage for someone of that age.

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          • #6
            Rushing it a bit, imo

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            • #7
              It's got disaster in the future written all over it. 8th and 9th grade girl distance phenoms who mature later and never improve are pretty common, at least in Illinois.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 26mi235 View Post
                Hadley's "too much" was a function of event selection which implied much too much training mileage for someone of that age.
                Too much parental involvement as well based on what I've read.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by aaronk View Post
                  Competing at whatever level---against whomever---should be based on ability---and potential to run with that group!
                  You are overlooking the psychological factors. Her physical ability is there, no doubt. But messing with the psyche of a 13-year-old is begging for circumspection . . . and caution. She is not cognitively capable of understanding what the pressures are now or what the repercussions are for her older self.

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                  • #10
                    Are those psychological factors any different in swimming or gymnastics?

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                    • #11
                      Paging, among others, Carrie Garritson......

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                      • #12
                        Back when I saw Hasay as an eighth grader run against the nation's top high school girls in the 2005 Golden West Invite, Hasay (comparatively) sprinted from the gun and was killing the field at 800 meters. By the end of the race she was 4th, 12 seconds behind the winner. I don't think the loss messed her up too badly.

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                        • #13
                          She'll be up against the last world indoor 1500 champ (Hassan) who also took world bronze outdoors in 2015 at 1500, and won Euro titles at cross country in 2015 and 1500 in 2014. I fail to see the point of throwing a child to such a wolf, unless the point is partially to satisfy someone's ego.
                          Last edited by ; 01-12-2017, 10:48 PM.

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                          • #14
                            As long as she is having fun and SHE is the one pushing things, good for her...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by polevaultpower View Post
                              As long as she is having fun and SHE is the one pushing things, good for her...
                              So long as SHE is the one making the decisions, ...... ok...

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