Candance Frye of Natchez lets others talk while she wins

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Almost any athlete, coach, or fan of any sport will always tell the cohorts to never do or say anything to fire up the competition.

Apparently, someone forgot to tell that to Jerika Hall.

The All-Star decathlete from Louisiana found herself a bit humbled at the hands of local hurdler Candance Frye over the weekend at the Southern Association Track Qualifying meet in Baton Rouge.

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Frye, an incoming senior at Natchez High School, defeated Hall handily in the 100- and 400-meter hurdles during the track meet. With the win, she qualified for the regional United States Track & Field championships, which will be held in Nashville beginning next weekend. Should she finish in the top four in either race in Nashville, she would qualify for the national championships to be held in Baltimore during July.

Frye&8217;s coach, former Natchez High School head track coach Henry &8220;Doc&8221; Woods, said he was incredibly excited by the results of the meet.

&8220;A tremendous thing happened,&8221; Woods said. &8220;The folks down there in Baton Rouge were going to do something special for the Hall girl. They put her in the paper, they had all kinds of things for her. Candance just wasn&8217;t bothered by all that and she went out there and wiped the floor with her.&8221;

Frye characterizes herself as a driven athlete, and she said Hall&8217;s escapades in Baton Rouge only motivated her further to go for the win.

&8220;She was just sitting there talking the whole time,&8221; she said. &8220;All she did was go around and tell everyone how good she was, and how she was the state champion (in Louisiana), but I&8217;m a state champion, too. I didn&8217;t need to tell anyone anything. Before we raced, she started talking to me again. That just made me want to beat her more.&8221;

Frye took home state titles in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles for Natchez High School this year.

Frye turned in a time of 15.43 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, and a time of 1:04.91 in the 300-meter hurdles.

Since entering the world of track when she was in seventh- grade, Frye has steadily improved. She joined the Natchez Soccer Club under the tutelage of Woods last year.

&8220;She is an elite hurdler,&8221; Woods said. &8220;She&8217;s a senior in high school and is undefeated in the hurdles. She is really disciplined, very coachable, and easy to work with.&8221;

With the regionals &045; and possibly nationals &045; approaching, Frye said she would have to work extra hard to find herself first across the finish line.

&8220;The competition is going to be tough,&8221; she said. &8220;I&8217;m going to have to work extra hard, because I know [Hall] will. She wasn&8217;t happy about losing. One thing I&8217;ve always done to help myself get better is run with boys. That&8217;s always helped me improve. I&8217;ll probably look to do that again.&8221;