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L-E’s Pruiett ready to keep on running at Tusculum

Posted: May 25, 2017 11:23 a.m.
Updated: May 30, 2017 1:00 a.m.
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BAILEY PRUIETT SIGNED a National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and track pursuits at Tusculum College while flanked by her parents, Melissa and Gary Joe Pruiett. Standing, from left, are Lugoff-Elgin vice-principal Jeff Carraway, L-E girls’ track coach Jessica Power and L-E athletic director Matt Campbell.

With a set of parents who enjoy running, Bailey Pruiett made it a family activity by joining her mom and dad on the roads and track.

The younger Pruiett became so good at the sport, though, that she will continue to run in college after the Lugoff-Elgin senior signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her academic and track pursuits at Tusculum College.

A two-year member of the Lady Demons’ track and field squad, Pruiett competed in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races for Jessica Power’s team. When she arrives on Tusculum’s Greenville, Tenn. campus, Pruiett will probably pare that down to specializing in the 400 meters.

Pruiett will also be part of history at Tusculum which will field a track and field squad for the first time in school history in the 2017-18 academic year. Lionel Nau is the Pioneers’ head coach and the former Lady Demon said her recruitment seemingly came from out of nowhere.

“It just came about,” she said of being contacted by Nau which set the wheels in motion for her to check out the Tusculum campus. “(Nau) contacted me about track and I visited and it was perfect. It had all the qualities I wanted.”

Once on campus, Pruiett said Nau did not need to deliver much of a sales pitch to convince her that Tusculum was where she needed to be for the next four years.

“It just felt like home when I went there to visit,” she said. “The mountains and the atmosphere … it just felt like home to me.”

Answering each question with a polite smile, Power said that what you see from Pruiett is what you get. The Lady Demon coach said Tusculum is getting the full package in Pruiett, who is as good off the track as she is when she is running over it.

“Bailey is a super-sweet person. Every time she comes out to the track, she has a smile on her face and she is always bright-eyed. She is just a generous, kind-hearted person,” Power said.

“She always leaves her heart on the track. She puts effort into everything that she does. I’m proud of her, as a coach.”

Pruiett, who estimates that she runs about four miles a week, said she does leg workouts and core workouts for sprinters in order to stay on top of her game in a sport which can get lonely at times when you are training.

“You definitely have to have the drive for this sport,” she said of track and field in which team scores are kept but on the track, you are competing against the clock and other individuals in your heat.

When it came time to start running seriously, Pruiett said she was fortunate to have had two good role models in her own home. From there, she decided to take a stab at becoming a member of the Lady Demons. The moves paid off with her signing.

 “I’ve been running track for two years. It clicked my second year and I wanted to pursue it in college,” she said. “My parents ran so, I guess it ran through me. I just love running. It’s my passion.”

That passion, Power said, is what will carry Pruiett to greater heights in college where her former coach anticipates her specializing in the 400 meters. “I can see that being Bailey’s bread and butter event,” she said.

“I think her strengths are going to be her dedication and love of the sport,” Power added. “Those are going to carry her far, especially being a sprint athlete where you have to be a little more dedicated to different techniques. 

“She’s still learning and she’s excited about going to Tusculum because she’s excited to go and learn from their coach and see other athletes from all over the world. That’s going to be a plus, too, for her to excel further.”

Pruiett said she is preparing herself for the rigors of running at the collegiate level at Tusculum and competing against premier athletes.

“People definitely have goals set and they want to pursue them. They’re not going to let anything get in their way,” she said of the difference between high school and college track athletes.

“I’m very excited, though. I’m excited for this new adventure to come about.”

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