Allen senior Sidney Green has been running track since she was 5 years old but could have hardly foreseen the hurdles becoming such a prominent part in her success.
Having run for the Lady Eagles all four years of her high school career, Green's brief freshman season — cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic — consisted of competing in relays, long jump, triple jump and the 400-meter dash.
She got to test herself plenty in the 300 hurdles as a sophomore, and the wins piled up. Green won district and regional championships that year, qualifying for the Class 6A state meet. She was right back in Austin as a junior, competing in both the 300 hurdles and 4x400 relay — medaling in the former with a third-place time of 42.18. Finishing on the podium was a gratifying moment for Green, who suffered an injury just two days prior to the state meet.
Allen's star hurdler hasn't missed a beat to begin her senior season, clocking times in the 42-second range that stack up among the best in the state. And with a personal-record time of 40.82, Green has visions of going even faster this season.
In this week's student-athlete profile, Green reflects on finishing on the podium at state, her improvements in the 300 hurdles, the influences on her growth as a runner, and more.
SLM: Congrats on the start you've had to this season. Now that you're a senior, how would you describe your role on this team?
SG: As a senior, my role hasn’t changed significantly as I’ve always been given the honor of being captain and being the person who others look to as an example of what both hard work and dedication look like.
But I will say as a senior there’s a lot more emotions because it’s my last year being part of a program that has taught me so much and being with people who’ve helped me in my development as both an athlete and young woman.
It just means a lot to be a part of this program for all four years of my high school career.
SLM: Your times in the 300-meter hurdles stack up among the best in the state. What do you attribute to the success you've had in that race so far this season?
SG: I believe what has attributed to me being able to put up those times are the people behind the scenes. From my parents to my coaches and teammates, they always push me to put 110% into every practice, to always remain humble and hungry after every accomplishment, and just keep the will and desire to be the best.
SLM: Reflect on running at state last season. What did it feel like being on that podium for the first time?
SG: State was a rollercoaster of emotions for me. What most people don’t know is just two days prior to state I got hurt, which was every bit of a heartbreak because there I had all these goals and expectations of winning state and bettering my 40.82, but felt helpless.
But in that time I really just relied on God to get me through because I felt I had an obligation not only to myself but my teammates, coaches, parents and family to go out there and compete for a chance to get on the podium.
And if you watch that race, in particular, you see that in the beginning I wasn’t in contention for a podium spot, so there was a lot of grit to make up ground and put myself on that podium and get that medal put around my neck.
SLM: Since then, what have you worked on in the 300 hurdles to try and improve your time?
SG: In order to improve my time, we’ve focused a lot on body maintenance—making sure that my body is always good and ready to run fast, but also incorporating a lot more weights and building my strength so that it’s carried all throughout the year.
I’ve always felt the 300 hurdles is a race you have to feel. Your race plan almost never goes the way you expect it to once the gun goes off, so there’s been a focus on, especially in the earlier parts of the year, learning to be more comfortable hurdling with both legs so there is no need to second guess when I approach a hurdle and allow for my races to be smooth.
I also have to remember that it’s not just a hurdle race, it’s a sprint and you should run it as such.
SLM: How long have you been running track, and what made you decide to go with the hurdles as your main race?
SG: I’ve running track since I was 5, so going on 13 years now, but never did I think I was going hurdle in those first 10 years of doing the sport. But what made me try them was the boredom I had one day at practice and wanting to prove to my previous head coach that I was capable of being a hurdler, plus just the desire to pick up one of the hardest events and make it my own.
Hurdling truly is an artform that deserves its respect because not everybody is capable of doing it. I accepted that challenge.
SLM: Belated congrats on committing to Michigan last fall. What was it like going through the recruiting process and what went into your decision to commit there?
SG: The recruiting process was fun but also stressful at times, because it’s a big decision you have to make and it almost feels like every corner you turn you’re getting bombarded with a handful of information about another school.
But it truly was a feeling of accomplishment because it felt like all the work I put in allowed for so many coaches to want me to be part of their program, but it was choosing one that kept me up at night.
This decision is one I only wanted to make once, so it took a lot of prayer and talking to my parents, and coaches about each visit, the coaches, programs, and academics of each university.
Looking back on it, choosing Michigan wasn’t either an easy choice or a hard choice because I knew what I wanted going into the process. I wanted a place that I could call home and that’s what the coaching staff, the university, and the athletes on the team gave me. But while I wanted a home, I also wanted somewhere that allowed me to grow not only as an athlete but a student, and the University of Michigan checked that box as well.
Plus, the community of Ann Arbor reminded me of the Allen community with everybody supporting each other regardless of who they are and their background.
SLM: Who have some of the biggest influences on your growth as a hurdler?
SG: One of my biggest influences is my coach, Kenneth Johnson, as he is the one who can take most of the credit for developing me into the hurdler I am today.Not many people would take a chance on 16 year old who was basically long-jumping over the hurdles and turn them into national champion, but he did and I’m beyond thankful for the knowledge he pours into me everyday that I step on the track.
But I can never forget my parents, Tyrone and Dannetta Green. Although they were a bit skeptical of the idea of me hurdling, they supported my desire to be the best at it. Hurdling, in a literal sense, is a person jumping over an obstacle and that’s what my parents did in order to make the life they have for me, so for 39 seconds — speaking it into existence — I emulate my parents and hurdle over every obstacle that comes my way, because if they could do it for majority of their lives I can do it for just a few seconds.
SLM: Do you have any sort of pre-race ritual or routine to get in the proper frame of mind before a race?
SG: I do actually have one pre-competition ritual, and it’s yoga. As soon as I wake up, I don’t check my phone or say anything—I get straight out of my bed, go to YouTube and find my yoga routine, and for 20 or so minutes I’m just following along and getting my body and mind in the right space to run fast.
I also just try to stay relaxed, because I’ve found in past years I would get really anxious and worried through the pressure I would put on myself, but when I clear my mind and just focus on me, that’s when I’ve run my best races throughout my career.
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