“By Land (track) and By Air (hurdle)…and By Sea???”

Durand Rice
Paul asked us this question in 1 Corinthians 9:24(NIV): “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize. Landmark Christian School eighth grade student Olivia Powell has run in such a way that she has received the prize many times throughout her career. This spring at the Georgia Middle School State Championships held at Parkview High School, the best runners in the state ran in the race.
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Paul asked us this question in 1 Corinthians 9:24(NIV): “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.” Landmark Christian School eighth grade student Olivia Powell has run in such a way that she has received the prize many times throughout her career. This spring at the Georgia Middle School State Championships held at Parkview High School, the best runners in the state ran in the race. Like many times before, Olivia finished the day as the champion. She received the honors for 2019 Georgia Middle School 100 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles State Champion. Along with the two gold medals hanging around her neck from the hurdle races, Olivia took home the hardware for earning the 2019 Georgia Middle School Outstanding Female Athlete. The 4x800 relay team that Olivia was a part of also placed at the meet helping her earn points toward the top overall individual award.   

With the amazing accomplishments added to her record book this spring, I was a little shocked by her answer when I asked Olivia about her favorite moment from the state meet this season, until I remembered I was talking to Olivia. “My favorite moment from that meet was when I crossed the finish line after the 400-meter dash. I finished second in the race and it was awesome because I came in seeded to finish 5th and didn’t have the best lane to run in. I ran 60.83 and it was a pretty good time.” Olivia is naturally talented in the hurdles and has trained with some of the best hurdle coaches around, but the open 400-meter dash is not a race she spends a great deal of training time or focus on during the spring. Olivia was proud that she ran the 400-meter dash in such a way as to get the prize, and the mindset of running to win is more of what Paul was challenging us with than actually finishing in first place.

As the middle school track and field season has now concluded, Olivia has turned her focus to the summer track and field circuit where she has some big meets and fierce competition ahead of her. Olivia will be running in United States of America Track and Field (USATF) meets throughout the summer including traveling to California, North Carolina, and South Carolina to name a few states where meets are hosted. The New Balance Outdoor Championships in June is a big meet that Powell has her sights set on. Olivia will spend her time this summer running the 100 hurdles, 200 hurdles, 4x400 relay, and the 4x800 relay events.

Off the track, Olivia is just as talented and as fierce of a competitor in the classroom. Olivia has made straight A’s every semester of middle school. Her favorite class is Honors Algebra with Mrs. Brittany Shavers. One of her teachers described Olivia as “an incredibly smart young lady who stands out among her peers.”  Coach Sierra Dukes is Olivia’s favorite coach, as she spends a great deal of time with her while training for hurdles as well as during offseason individual conditioning sessions. When Olivia isn’t loading up on the all the carbs, fruits, and vegetables that it takes to sustain the high-level successful athlete in training she is, Breyers Strawberry Ice Cream is her favorite food. The eighth-grade class recently took a field trip to the Georgia Aquarium and Olivia told me that her favorite animal to watch was the dolphin. The track and field star would love to swim with dolphins one day if given the opportunity. I haven’t seen Olivia swim so I don’t know if she could keep up with a dolphin underwater, but like most of her competitors, I know a dolphin can’t keep up with Olivia on the track!
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