Posted Online: April 23, 2013, 7:38 pm

Tigers' Crawley running her way back into top form

Comment on this story

By Terry Duckett,

More photos from this shoot
Photo: John Greenwood
Sherrard girls' track standout Danielle Crawley is this week's area Pacesetter for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. After enduring an injury-plagued sophomore season, Crawley is working her way back to top form. Last Saturday at the Rockridge Invitational, she won four events (long jump, 100, 400 and 200), setting meet records in the 100 and 200 sprints.
Buoyed by a successful debut season with the Sherrard girls' track and field team two seasons back, Danielle Crawley was looking to continue that trend in her sophomore season.

However, a pulled quadricep muscle that plagued Crawley throughout most of last spring not only sidetracked her physically, but mentally as well as a lengthy layoff from running took its toll.

"It was very frustrating,'' said Crawley, "especially considering the fact that I wanted to win a state title. I love running, and taking that time out really hurt. I was focused on fixing things and working to get better, but then I figured it would get worse and I wouldn't be able to run the rest of the year.''

Not only did she come back to the track, but she ended the 2012 campaign with a flourish by taking second at the IHSA Class 1A State Meet in Charleston in the 100 and 200 meter sprints, to go with a bronze medal with the Tigers' 4x200 relay.

And last weekend, this week's Area Pacesetter for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus served notice to her biggest area rivals that if Danielle Crawley isn't 100 percent back to her top form, she's only mere footsteps away.

Not only did Crawley sweep the 100, 200 and 400 meter races at last Saturday's Rockridge Invitational in addition to capturing the long jump gold medal, but she established meet records in the 100 (12.29 seconds) and 200 (26.02).

In the 100, she broke a record shared by former Sherrard standouts Ellen Kindelsperger and Lacey Hainline; her 200 meter time broke ex-Tiger Sarah Boraas' previous standard.

"That felt really good, considering we hadn't had that many meets (prior to Rockridge),'' she said. "It shows I'm doing better and getting back to where I was. I still feel like I've got a ways to go, that I'm working my way back.''

Last weekend also has Crawley inspired for two another big meet this week, Sherrard's own Tiger Relays on Friday night.

"I'm hoping to get a record,'' she said. "I'm just excited to run. I'm ready to race.''

After picking up three medals in her state debut in May 2011, Crawley was ready to race when her sophomore season commenced. After her injury at the indoor season-ending Illinois Top Times meet, Sherrard coach Todd Volkert had to convince her to be patient and not rush her return to running.

"I'm sure she was really questioning what was going to happen at the end of the season,'' said Volkert. "We all were, but we stuck with our plan and kept reminding Danielle that we're on course with what we have going. We just eased her back in for the end of the season, and she's learned how to deal with adversity and injuries, being patient and not rushing back until it's time.

"Now, she's running as well as she ever has at this point in the year. She flat-out has raw speed, and is in great condition right now. The last three weeks of the season will be a matter of fine-tuning things, what we can correct with her technique.''

And after battling through a foot ailment that kept her out of this year's Top Times meet, Crawley has stayed healthy as she continues to build upon last season's silver-medal state finishes.

"This year, I want to get first place,'' Crawley said. "That's what I'm working for, and taking second last year gave me motivation. It's time for me to take the next step.''


Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite movie: "Step Brothers"
Favorite TV show: "SpongeBob SquarePants"
Favorite school subjects: English and French
Favorite track event: 200-meter dash
Favorite athlete: Usain Bolt
Role models: ``My older brother Ray and (former Sherrard standout) Ellen Kindelsperger.''
Pre-race ritual: ``I always pray before I run.''
Parents: Donald and Yvette Crawley, Coyne Center

Trey Hannam, Annawan-Wethersfield: In four games last week, the senior went 11-for-13 with 11 runs, three home runs, two doubles and five stolen bases.

Paige and Peyton Rus, Erie-Prophetstown: Both set records in the Panthers' first-place finish at the Fulton Relays -- Paige in the triple jump and Peyton in the 200. Altogether, the sisters combined for eight gold medals.

Noah Shannon, Ridgewood: Earned wins against Annawan-Wethersfield and ROWVA, the latter a one-hit shutout, that kept the Spartans atop the Lincoln Trail Conference race.

Ethan Howard, Erie-Prophetstown: Picked up three wins last week to run his record to 5-1 for the Three Rivers Conference-leading Panthers.

Riley Strandgard, Sherrard: Tallied six hits and six RBIs in wins over ROWVA and Orion last week.

Chelsea Eads, Morrison: Was 5-for-7 with six RBIs in a doubleheader sweep of Riverdale that put the Fillies atop the Three Rivers softball race.

Nathan Fay, Sherrard: Tossed a no-hitter in the Tigers' 9-0 shutout of Mendota at the Putnam County Wooden Bat Tournament, walking one and striking out six.