Talk about an incredible feat, it’s hard to go back to back winning in one sport, and in one sporting event. Goddard’s Destiny Lawrence runs as fast as the New Mexico winds and has an extra gear depending on her competition, which has not allowed her to be beaten in her last two years of her career.
What she did at state her junior and senior seasons is almost the high school version of what the legendary Iowa State wrestler Dan Gable did as a college wrestler.
Gable was a two-time national champion and national runner-up, losing his final match to Larry Owings. Gable would finish his college career at 117-1. Gable would also become an Olympic gold medalist.
No one is comparing Destiny to Gable, but there are a lot of similarities. What’s so remarkable is that Destiny had to overcome adversity this season and fight through suffering a hamstring injury that threatened to derail her quest to remain undefeated.
Destiny has not lost a race in high school since she lost in the state championships in the 400-meters her sophomore year. She also played soccer her sophomore year.
The only time Destiny has come close to being challenged in a race the last two years was by Sandia freshman, Andriana Tatum, at the Marilyn Sepulveda Meet of Champions on April 16, 2018.
Both runners had a lot riding on the outcome — this was for bragging rights not in a class, but for the state of New Mexico. This race invited the top eight runners in the state regardless of classification — this race was about speed, nothing but pure speed.
Destiny came out of the blocks fast and well, barely outrunning Tatum to win supremacy of the 100-meter dash. In that race, Destiny ran a 12.42, and Tatum ran a 12.44.
Many track fans were hoping to see them lock up again this season, but unfortunately, it was not to be, as Goddard coach Chris Deck sat Destiny out.
Coach Deck, seeing the big picture, benched Destiny and wanted her to be ready and fresh for district and state. The only time Deck allowed her to run full speed was at the district meet a week before state, and at state.
Good thing, because all Destiny did was set a 4A state record in the 100-meter with a time of 11.97. The record she broke has stood since 1988. Destiny would win the 200- and 400-meter as well, to remain undefeated in both her junior and senior years as a track performer.
“I was very nervous at state this year,” Destiny said. “I had to keep my titles. I was worried that someone would come out of the blue and beat me out, just like I did.”
Destiny has been stalked by numerous colleges wanting her speed, but she finally settled on Eastern New Mexico University.
“For us, it means everything for her,” mother, Sabrina Daniel said. “We’re extremely proud of her. She has pushed really hard the past three years. She’s made a lot of sacrifices and so have we.”
Destiny has received extra training by local coach Jack Batson. She would train for track even while playing soccer. Goddard track coach, Chris Deck remembers seeing her in the hallway and noticing her being shy. Deck talked to him about coming out for track and was surprised by how competitive and fast she was.
“Soccer, she’s good at,” Daniel said. “When you see her run, you just know. She’s got a beautiful stride and she’s always been fast and very competitive.”
Not only is Destiny competitive on the track, but she’s also an excellent student with a 3.5 GPA. Destiny would like to be a veterinarian when she is done competing.
Destiny hits the switch and starts mentally preparing once she hears first call for runners. She has her headphones on listening to her favorite group AC/DC and blocks everything out.
Once she gets to the track, she says, “I’m here, I’ve got to focus on what I have to do.” Destiny then focuses on the race. Music pumps her up to get ready for the race.
Lawrence’s training consists of fly-drills, (Sprint endurance) which Deck devised to help Lawrence run faster and further. Lawrence’s starts are no problem, as he tried to get her to maintain the acceleration phase and to run faster for longer — that hasn’t been a problem. Now during their training together, Deck is trying to help her with maintaining her speed so that she can be stronger during the last 100 meters of the 400 meter.
“Once the gun goes off, she is ultra-competitive,” Deck said. “She’s always rising to the pressure, and runs her best race when she’s had to. By far, she is the best sprinter I have ever seen.”
Destiny chose ENMU because of the atmosphere and she loves it. She just knew that was the place for her to continue her education and track career.
“My goal is to be an All-American at ENMU,” Lawrence said.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.