McDougle state’s fastest femaleBy ROBBIE ROBERTSON,
Newton County’s Jada McDougle had never ran track heading into her sophomore season, but everyone who had seen her knew she could run.
McDougle proved what they all knew to be true last week as the sophomore won the Class 4A state championship in the 200-meter dash and the 100-meter dash, easily winning both events.
McDougle had a time of 11.82 in the 100-meter run and a time of 24-15 in the 200-meter run. Both times were the best in their event for any classification, making McDougle the unofficial “fastest female in Mississippi.”
“I didn’t think I could win it until I was there,” McDougle said. “Once I got there and saw the other, I thought I had a chance. I knew they were fast but I thought I was faster. You just have to go out there with a good mindset.”
McDougle is also a standout for the Newton County softball team, leading the team in hitting from her leadoff position.
But McDougle wanted to venture out and try something different. First-year track coach Ashley Walker was pleased to have McDougle.
“This was my first year coaching track and with her playing softball, I was really shocked when she came out,” Walker said. “She said she really wanted to run track and we worked around her schedule. I thought she was an athlete and an incredible talent. I had seen her play softball and knew she could run and knew she was going to be a sprinter on the team.”
Walker said before long, she knew she didn’t have to do much coaching with McDougle.
“I can’t take too much credit,” Walker said. “She has put in a lot of work. My biggest job was to put her in the events and she did the rest. I just tried not to mess her up and let her run and be an athlete. She was just pure fast and even with her winning the 100 and 200, I still feel like her form can improve. She can be even better.”
McDougle burst onto the scene in the South 4A meet at Northwest Rankin where she swept the 100 and 200 and nearly led the relays to the state tournament as well.
“I had a coach approach me at South State at Northwest Rankin and asked me if I wanted to join them and run a travel team this summer,” McDougle said. “So, I’m going to try and do some running with one of those teams this summer. God gave me a gift and I want to use it.”