How Van Buren's Gracie Carter took her track career to the next level with offseason work

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier

Van Buren's Gracie Carter changed up her offseason workout for her senior year.

After being prompted by her mom to try CrossFit, Carter began waking up at 5:30 to do the workout.  

She set new school records in the 100-meter dash (12.57 seconds) and the triple jump (37-2). She's also won the triple jump at three meets this season and won both the long jump and the 100-meter hurdles twice.

"I haven't done it in a while since track season started," Carter said. "I could tell all that work has paid off."

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Even track coach Hays Lemley noticed a difference.

"She took it upon herself to improve her fitness in the offseason, and that certainly has paid off for her," Lemley said. "Sometimes it takes six years to get where she's at, but we've always seen it and always knew she had that ability. This year, she seems really focused on doing the best that she can every time she steps onto the track."

If Carter comes across something that she finds intriguing, she attacks it, even nursing after high school.

"(CrossFit) sounded fun. It looked fun. I like working out, so I did it, and it paid off. I'm glad I did it," Carter said. "Nursing was the same way. I remember hearing someone talk about it one time, and I thought it sounded like fun, so I looked into it, and it's something I want to do with my life."

Carter is planning to go to Harding in Searcy after she graduates this month to study nursing. She has been in contact with the Harding track coaches and was told she has a spot on the team.

"That's pretty awesome," she said. "They've given me times to match to get more scholarship money, and I've gotten so close. I'll keep working at it."

Her drive to continually improve is something that also stands out to Lemley.

"As a coach, that's something you want, and we look forward to having those kinds of conversations," Lemley said. "She doesn't just show up for practice. She puts everything into every repetition and is always well prepared for the meet. She's competitive and wants to do the best that she can every time."

Carter is dedicated to her fitness. Track team or not, she will keep honing her craft.

"It sounds crazy, but I do enjoy this," Carter said. "Even if I don't do track in college, I'll still probably come out here, run and work out because I enjoy it."