Angie Vailas enjoyed her time as “that Kapaun sprinter” and being respected but not feared.
That time is now over.
The throne to the City League sprint title has been vacated and Vailas is primed to elevate to elite sprinter status in her senior season, which begins for the Crusaders on April 2 at the Newton Invitational.
“She’s entered that area as a sprinter where she has scary speed,” Kapaun Mount Carmel sprints coach Bob Lida said. “In the past she’s had really good speed, but now with the acceleration she’s added in the offseason, she’s going to be right there with the best of them in the state.”
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Lida believes the improvement to her acceleration was the last step for Vailas in becoming a complete sprinter. She’s always been quick off the blocks and her top speed allows her to chase runners down at the line
That was good enough for Vailas to reach the finals of the 100-meter dash in Class 5A the past two seasons.
Vailas is hoping her diligent work through the winter to add the third-and-final phase of her race is good enough to improve on sixth- and eighth-place finishes.
“I want to be top-five in the state,” Vailas said. “I think this year I’m able to get up to my top speed a lot faster and able to hold and relax. I’m hoping that will help lower my times.”
Last season, Vailas topped out in the 100 just under 12.5 seconds.
Lida said she has a chance to chop off multiple tenths off that time, just through her form alone.
“Her mechanics are beautiful,” Lida said. “She’s very smooth and just a pleasure to watch.”
Having a coach like Lida, who last year accepted the 2012 Best Masters of the World award, has been critical to Vailas’ development.
“It’s amazing to have a coach like him,” Vailas said. “He knows so much about sprinting and he gives us so many tips. Whenever he talks, we listen because he definitely knows what he’s talking about.”
Vailas isn’t the only sprinter at Kapaun, either. The Crusaders have a chance to field one of 5A’s top 400 relay teams with Vailas, Kelly Burns, Sophie Brooks and McKenna Sullivan all capable of breaking 13 seconds in the open 100.
Whether that’s possible will begin and end with Vailas.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it, she’s going to be great,” Lida said. “She’s put herself into a good position to be a very, very good sprinter this year.”