A conversation with Symone Black, as with other elite level track athletes, inevitably turns to time. But in this case, she's not talking finish times or even record times.
When Black talks time, she's speaking of a particular moment, one that was both predictable and surprising in its amazement.
But after watching Black at last month's IHSAA championships, “time” has taken on a generational meaning. Yes, the 2014 state meet may have been “my time”, as Black says, but her performances are evidence of something bigger and long lasting. That's why she's been selected as the News-Sentinel's Girls Track Athlete of the Year.
Simply put, Black, a recent Concordia Lutheran graduate, staked her claim as one of Indiana's greatest high school hurdlers, ever. Her “time” has become “all-time”, placing her name next to Snider's Rod Woodson and Westview's Skyler Carpenter among others.
Black won both the 100 and 300 meter hurdle titles at the state meet and broke the state meet record (41.36 seconds) in the later. It was also her second straight 300 hurdle title. She had placed third in the 100 hurdles as a junior. For her career, she finished with six state meet medals (three in each event).
Black's incredible post-season was only beginning. A week after the state finals, Black participated in the Midwest Meet of Champions where she won the 300 hurdles and placed second in the 100 hurdles. She was selected the meet's girl track “Star of Stars”. Indiana track and field coaches also selected her Miss Track and, to top it all off, Black was named the Gatorade Indiana Girl's Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
When asked to put senior season in perspective, the Purdue signee said: “I just think that this season was finally my time. To finally win the 100 hurdles at state was a relief and then to get the record (in the 300 hurdles),
accomplishing my ultimate goal, just meant that my time had finally come.”
If you think Black's response was an understatement, then you don't understand her perspective. For the first two years of her high school career, Black had to race in the same regional as Carpenter, a five-time state champ who was nationally ranked. Then Black had to overcome a poor performance her junior year in the 100 hurdles.
“I think the strength I gained before my junior year and then the experiences of my junior year helped me get where I am,” Black said before the state meet. “I started a little slower this season, but I know that I will be racing well at the end.”
Black's confidence was evident at the state meet where she easily won the 100 hurdles.
“I just knew that it was my time,” Black said. “I realized that last year just wasn't my time to win the 100 hurdles. I knew I was ready.”
After finally winning the 100 hurdles, Black was finally free to let it all go in her final race. And the results were one for the history books.
Black not only shattered the record (Carpenter had run 42.03 as a senior in 2012) but she won by nearly two seconds (the runner-up finished in 43.18).
Black plans to major in athletic training at Purdue where she will focus on the 400 hurdles.
Symone Black - Concordia Lutheran
Holly Hankenson - Bellmont
Dyamond Morris - North SIde
Lindley Kistler - Homestead
JeBria Green - Wayne
Amber McGee - Northrop
Karrina Smith - Snider
Katie Monk - Churubusco
Sara McKeeman - Carroll
Abigail Grider - South Side
Latrice Bolton - Northrop
Victoria McCuiston - Northrop