To parlay her Adidas Dream 100 Golden Ticket into a national title, St. Thomas Aquinas’ diminutive 5-2, 105 pound sprint star Krystal Sparling will summon her inner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the Adidas Dream 100 at Icahn Stadium in New York on Saturday.
Sparling, who draws inspiration from the 4-11 world champion Fraser-Pryce, concedes nothing to the bigger sprint protytypes she will face in Ky Westbrook, the defending Dream 100 champion, Orlando East Ridge Class 4A state champion Kaylin Whitney and Orlando the First Academy’s Class 1A state champion Teahna Daniels in New York.
“I love watching Shelly-Ann run,” Spaulding said. “She is my favorite sprinter. Being smaller than everybody else, you are underestimated by everyone in the stands. I just try to give them something that they didn’t think they would see with me and that would be to win. I think for me, the Dream 100 ranks number one in races throughout my track career.”
The kindred spirit Sparling feels with Fraser-Pryce, who has defied the stereotype of the bigger, long-legged world champion sprinter, has served Sparling well.
Sparling enters the Adidas 100 one of the most coveted recruits in the nation after a record-setting junior season helped lead Aquinas to its second consecutive state title.
Sparling posted a then nation-leading 11.34 in the 100, ranked No. 2 in the 200 and anchored the nation’s top-ranked 400-meter relay team (45.5) and a 800-meter relay team which re-set its own national record (1:33.43).
Taking a page from Fraser-Pryce, who has earned the moniker “pocket rocket” Sparling has made her mark with the surprising explosiveness she generates from a small frame.
St. Thomas Aquinas eight-time state champion coach Alex Armenteros said Sparling runs with an edge which helps her overcomes whatever perceived physical limitations she might have on the track.
“In every race Krystal is the smallest one,” said Armenteros. “How someone that size can cover so much ground so far and have that much power in that little body is amazing. I think the same way these other girls are blessed with size and strength, Krystal is blessed with other tools to fight with as well.”
Piper graduate Andre Ewers, a state runner-up in 4A, will compete in the boys’ Dream 100.
Sparling faces a loaded field, led by Whitney (11.30), Daniels (11.37) Kortnei Johnson (11.35) and Westbrook (11.64).
That Whitney beat Sparling for the Class 4A state title, and Daniels beat Whitney at the Golden South Invitational three weeks ago has only added more intrigue to the debate over Florida’s top girls’ sprinter.
“There is some redemption there,” Sparling said. “I don’t like to lose. We’re all blessed and good in our own ways. We all like to compete. Teahna has one of the best starts I have seen and Kaylin has a very strong finish. I love running against the best. I’m comfortable in what I’m capable of doing on Saturday.”