Local athlete does it all

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 22, 2016

JACKSON — Larensy Rogers is a busy student-athlete.

The high school freshman at the Mississippi School for the Blind is earning her varsity letter in track and field and wrestling.

Rogers, who is originally from Natchez, has competed in track events since she was a seventh grader, and she has been on the wrestling team since she was an eighth grader.

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“It feels great to get a letter,” Rogers said. “I feel like I put in a lot of hard work with my coaches.”

On the track team, Rogers competes in the long jump, 400-meter dash, 800-meter dash, the 300-meter relay and an event exclusive to blind athletes, the 60 meter dash.

In most track events, a partner guides the runner through the correct lane. In the 60 meter, the runners are blindfolded and listen to a teammate or coach who dictates her steps by shouting “1-2, 1-2.”

“You really have to listen to their voice,” Rogers said.

In Rogers’ previous wrestling meet, she placed first in the 106-weight class. She said the primary rule change from blind wrestling to standard wrestling is that opponents must remain in constant contact.

“Whenever you start off, before the ref blows the whistle, your hands have to touch,” Rogers said. “You’re using all the same moves, but you keep in constant contact.”

Rogers’ father, Lorenzo Rogers, said his daughter’s choice of sport caught him off guard, initially.

“When she first said she wanted to wrestle, I was shocked,” Lorenzo said. “She’s a small, young lady, but I got a chance to see her, and she competes well.”

Rogers also participates in the marching band at the school. Rogers said it’s the second blind school in the country with a marching band.

Lorenzo said despite his daughter’s busy schedule, she is always doing the necessary requirements to maintain a strong the ability to be at the top of her game.

“She works out and eats right,” Lorenzo said. “She’s on top of that.”

Roger’s first sport was cheerleading, which she said she started in kindergarten before gravitating to the sports she plays today.

“I used to like cheerleading, but it felt like the same thing over and over again,” Rogers said. “I wanted to do something more competitive. I wanted to work hard to achieve goals.”