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Rose ready to get 'on track' at Winthrop

Posted: May 16, 2011 2:22 p.m.
Updated: May 18, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Being a member of the Camden High track team is not the easiest gig in high school sports.

Without a completed track, team members train on all different types of surfaces, only competing over a standard running track when they travel to meets.

That reason makes Shalace Rose’s signing a national letter-of-intent to continue her academic and track and field pursuits at Winthrop University even more impressive. The Lady Bulldog senior closed out her high school career by finishing third in the 400-meter run and sixth in the 200-meter dash at this past Saturday’s AAA state championship meet held inside Harry Parone Stadium at Spring Valley High School.

CHS track coach Emet Ryes said that once Rose becomes part of the Eagles’ program and works out on quality facilities every day, there is no telling how much better she will get over the course of the next four years in Rock Hill.

“Shalace is a diamond in the rough,” Reyes said of Rose, who also played basketball for the Lady Bulldogs in the winter months.

“We’re not a big track school, yet, because of our facilities. Shalace has been able to overcome practicing over football fields, parking lots and our facility at Scott Park. I keep telling these coaches that once she gets on a proper training facility, with proper nutrition and a weight training program, the sky is going to be the limit for her.”

In spite of not having a sealed track on which to practice, Rose won the Region 6-AAA title in the 400-meter run while also having qualified for the AAA state qualifier in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes with seconds in each event at the conference meet in Darlington. She admitted that it was, oftentimes, tough for her and her teammates to get in solid workouts when rain and damp weather conditions turned the dirt running surface at the Scott Park track into a soggy mess.

“It’s very difficult,” she said when asked the obstacles CHS runners had to overcome. “We always practice at Scott Park and every time it rains, the track gets muddy and we’ll have to practice in the gym and you really don’t get as good of a workout in there as you would on a track.”

From here on, lack of quality training facilities will not be a problem for Rose, who liked what she saw during her official visit to Winthrop.

“I really like their track facility. The coach (Ben Paxton) actually gave me a personal tour and talked to me about the program when I went there,” she said. “I think Winthrop is a real good place where I can improve myself as an athlete.

“There is going to be a lot more training and weight-lifting there, especially since we don’t have a track here. I’m really excited to be able to practice on my own track once I’m at Winthrop.”

Rose, who started out running track at CHS as an eighth-grader, is the second Lady Bulldog in as many years to sign a track and field grant-in-aid. Last spring, Daisy Whitaker signed with Charleston Southern University where she has already shattered the school’s freshman discus record.

Competing in the state championships marked the second time in which Rose ran over the new running surface at Harry Parone Stadium. Earlier this spring, she participated in the prestigious Taco Bell Classic, which brings in top athletes from the Southeast, East and Midwestern portions of the country. Rose finished in the top six --- among 78 runners --- in the 400 meters. She was in the top 16 in the 200 and the top 17 in the 100 from a field of more than 100 girls.

Her performance that day opened the eyes of several college coaches who, then, started to vie for Rose’s services.

“All the schools which came in contact with her kind of hesitated at first because they’re more concerned about the current times,” Reyes said. “I think Winthrop just looked at her and saw the potential which Shalace has to offer.”

While Rose has run every event from the 100-meter dash to the mile in her high school career, she said she would like to run one event, in particular, in college.

 “I love the 400 and I hope that I get to run the 400 at Winthrop,” she said with a smile. “I could possibly being doing some sprints, like the 200- and 100-meters, also.”

Reyes said Rose’s versatility will be one of the many strengths which she will bring to the Eagles’ program.

“The 400 (meters) will be the event where she has the chance to do the best,” he said. “Shalace has the speed to do well in the 100 and 200, but she also has the endurance where she can run the 800 and the mile.

“I really think Shalace will be a versatile runner in college. They will find the best place for her, but the 400 has always been her marquee event.”

Whichever event Paxton decides to place Rose in, Reyes is confident that Winthrop will be pleased with the end result. The Bulldog boss expects the success which Rose enjoyed in high school to continue at the collegiate level.

“Shalace is a terrific member of our track team and overcame our coaching. She is the ultimate team member,” he said with a grin.
“The best thing I can say about Shalace is that she’s as competitive an athlete as I’ve ever been around. She can be in the first lane or the eighth lane, but she always finds a way to win at the end.”

Rose, who said she is thinking about majoring in exercise science at Winthrop, said she can see the finish line rapidly approaching in these final days before graduating from Camden High. She said this is a bittersweet time.

“Actually, I’m pushing for it,” she said of the end of her high school years. “But I know that later in life, I’ll look back on this and say, ‘I really should have taken my time during these last couple of days of high school.’

“I’m really nervous because I don’t know what to expect, but I’m very excited, too. I’ll miss all my friends here; I’ve been going to school with some of them since kindergarten. It’s (college) going to be a new experience, though, so I’m excited. I’m ready to start a new experience.”

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