Watch a Future Olympian Run This Spring in Polk County

There are certainly some things I miss about being the Prep Sports Editor at The Ledger, and one of them is not being able to cover what should be an incredible story this spring.

If you follow track and field at all, you know that the fastest high school girl in the country resides in Lake Wales. Octavious Freeman, who will be a senior this year, already owns the state record in the 100 meters and is on pace to break the national record by a high school girl this season.

When I first took over high school sports in the fall of 2008, I vaguely knew who Octavious was. But that spring I saw just how good she could be as she went on to win state titles and blow away the competition in Polk County.

But last spring was when I really got to know Octavious better and enjoy covering her. Not only is she an incredible athlete, but she’s a tireless worker. And watching her in practice is fun because of how encouraging she is to her teammates. She gets as much enjoyment out of winning a relay race as she does out of an individual sprint.

What was really exciting last year was watching her open up in interviews and become an extremely poised student-athlete. She likes hanging out with friends, loves basketball, and is comfortable talking about trying to become an Olympic athlete. I became a true fan of Octavious last spring, and I’m disappointed I won’t be able to cover her during her senior year.

I do, however, hope to make it out to at least one meet to watch her run, and I hope all of you get a chance, as well. I strongly believe she could be on the U.S. Olympic team in 2012, but even if she falls short of that goal it is still so amazing to watch her run far ahead of her competitors with such ease.

Covering her high school career will certainly be one of the stories I tell my kids and grandkids. She is a special athlete, and I hope she shatters the national record this season.

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