RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV)
The 3200 meter race started off Rapid City's Track-O-Rama meet. It was a two-woman race. Aberdeen Central's Melanie Jacobs led the way with Rapid City Stevens Erica Dykstra close behind.
"She's a competitor, she's scrappy and she likes to get after it," remarked her coach, Paul Hendry.
To come back and win, Dykstra would have to channel the fight she learned growing up in a family of runners.
"My older sisters, they always have us race against each other," said Dykstra. "And they've always been really good motivation for me. My sister, she's always like, 'come on Erica, beat me, beat me,' so that's always really helped."
Erica's plan of attack is to slowly close the gap between whoever's in front of her. This race was getting tight.
"At first I was a little bit worried about the mile, Dykstra said. "She (Jacobs) still had a pretty good distance in front of me and so I realized then I needed to kick it up a little bit."
"She's a really good tactition when she's racing," explained Hendry. "But I think one of the strengths she does have is her kick. She finishes strong in every race that she does."
"My coach always tries to train us to start kicking around the last lap and I was pretty dead for that, remembered Dykstra. "But around the 300, 200 I really tried to pick it up. And the last 100 stretch I could really just full on sprint and give it my all."
By the time the final lap bell rung, Erica was in full kick and had completed the pass for the lead. The race was hers. The win was maybe the second biggest acomplishment of her week. Less than 24 hours before she crossed the finish line, Dykstra signed her letter of intent to run for Black Hills State University.
"Oh I'm so excited," exclaimed Dykstra. "I'm really looking forward to Black Hills State. I've already met with some of the girls and the coach and I think it'll be a really great fit for me."
"Hopefully we get to get there and see some meets and I know they come down here every once in while," said Hendry. "So, it's good to see them always move on. And it's exciting to see what she's going to be able to do later on."
"I'll have to come home and do some laundry and have some food," laughed Dysktra. "But, I think it'll be really nice being kind of close still and that'll be fun."
A long distance runner competing in college a short distance from the comforts of home.