ACCS alum finishes second in NJCAA Indoor Nationals

Published 11:43 am Friday, March 11, 2022

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RAYMOND — ACCS Alumnae and Port Gibson native Diandrenique Gaines is a sophomore at Hinds Community College. She finished her indoor track season in second place at the National Junior College Athletic Association Championships in Pittsburg last sunday.

Her time of 24.02 in the 200 meter dash was .03 seconds behind Kiara Brown from Butler Community College who took first place. The 200 meter dash is the only event she runs in indoor track and she will run in the 100 in outdoor season. 

“In the 200 you have to come out of your blocks and from there you have to turn it on and go. It is a quick race,” Gaines said. “In Pittsburg, I didn’t think I ran that fast. I told myself I ran slow. When I saw the time my coach told me I had a good run. It feels great coming in second. Now, I’m focusing on myself and I’m trying to get better and better. I just give all glory to God because he did it all.” 

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Indoor track is a bit different than running outside because the air is different, she said. Gaines has chronic asthma so she takes medicine to control it. Indoor season does not help her asthma because of the lack of fresh air. 

God gives her the talent and the strength to handle any challenges that come her way, she said. Sometimes her chronic asthma is hard to deal with but she keeps going. Her freshman season was another challenge because she did not know what was going on and had to learn as an athlete and student. 

Her head coach Reginald Dillon said she grew up a lot academically and athletically. In practice, she is performing at a higher level and taking better care of her body. Athletes have a tough first year in college because it is different than what they did in high school, he said. 

COVID forced Gaines to miss her senior season of track which didn’t allow her to fire off the different muscles and she wasn’t able to run in competition, Dillon said. 

“She has her good days and bad days. I think she has her days where she works hard and it’s easy. Other days it is a struggle and that is part of growing up,” Dillon said. “This year she has gotten better and adapted. Her best track years are in front of her.” 

Gaines said she learned her senior outdoor season at ACCS was cut short by COVID one day in class. She was in shape and had trained hard over the years. Her track career began when she was 10, she said. 

“I felt like I was going to run some fast times and I wasn’t able to do that,” Gaines said. “I enjoy competing and running against different types of people. I enjoy competition and having fun. I just try to get to the finish line as fast as I can.” 

Dillon said she has room to grow with her top end speed, her final kick and her overall race strategy. Gaines said she hopes to improve her times in the outdoor season by getting below 23 seconds in the 200 and 11 seconds in the 100. 

COVID has given her an extra year of eligibility so she could stay at Hinds for an additional season if she wants too but she isn’t sure what her plan is right now. A biology major, she hopes to become an OBGYN and work with babies. 

“I love kids and I like when they are really really young. I have a lot of siblings, six, and I just like kids,” she said.

Her hope is to go run at a big school whenever she leaves Hinds Community College. No matter what comes her way, she is going to keep running. 

“Running is something I always wanted to do. I was really good at it as a kid,” Gaines said. “Coach Dillon has inspired me to keep on going. My mom and dad have inspired me too. I want to make a name for myself. I want to show people you can be great and push through no matter what is going on in your life. I love running. It takes your mind off things. I feel better when I train and run in a meet.”