October 21, 2005 - by
FEATURE STORY: Coming to a Close

Oct. 21, 2005

The Mike Long Track Complex at Florida State has become a second home to many track and field student-athletes over the past few years. On any given day, scattered across the track, jump pad and pole vault pit, one will see an array of competitors focused on perfecting their craft.

For four years, FSU senior Deanna Lane has become accustomed to this atmosphere and embraces it every day. This busy yet productive platform has fueled her success on the conference, regional and national levels. The team’s leading multi-event competitor is familiar with success. The four-time All-ACC honoree and two-time NCAA qualifier enters the 2006 campaign ranked second on FSU’s all-time list in the heptathlon and third in 100m hurdles.

Lane throwing the javelin at the 2005 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships.

Lane journey to become one of the bests that ever donned the Garnet and Gold at FSU began long before she even knew about the Tallahassee-based school.

“I had a friend in elementary school that ran (track and field) and I just started running because she was running,” Lane said.

As a child growing up in Atlanta, it did not take Lane long to learn the about the sport she would grow to love. Watching some of the older girls at her school competing in hurdles sparked her interest in the event.

The former Pope High School 100m and 300m hurdles record holder went on to the state championships meet in her final three seasons and broke the state record in the 100m hurdles her junior year.

“I guess I was kind of a role model to some of the girls on the team,” Lane said. “There were three of us who carried the team so I guess we were motivation for the younger ones.”

The speedy Lane had several options in mind as to where she wanted to go to college but it was her summer track coach who encouraged her to look at Florida State because of the experience his son had during his time as a Seminole. After her first trip on campus, she knew this would be the place she would call home for the next four years.

The transition from high school was tough for the hurdler, who had a wealth of success on the high school level. The hurdles, Lane’s primary event, became something she struggled with during her opening semester at FSU.

Lane’s positive attitude ensured that her rookie campaign would not be spoiled. She worked with the coaching staff, former longtime FSU head coach Terry Long and sprints coach Maicel Malone, to switch gears. The eventual league runner-up starting conditioning in the seven disciplines of the event – javelin, shot put, long jump, high jump, 800m and her specialty, the 100m hurdles.

This proved to be a great decision for Lane and the Tribe. At the 2003 Atlantic Coast Outdoor Conference Championships, Lane competed in the event for the first time, finishing just shy of first place by two tenths of a point.

“In the heptathlon, you have to be technically sound in all the events,” Lane said, who admits that the long jump is her least favorite of all events. “You can’t just be strong on one event.”

With having to be perfect in a variety of areas, Lane trains hard throughout the year. From July until November, she utilizes the afternoon practice session for over-distance drills, stadiums and tempos for gradual distance increase. Weight lifting sessions follow select practices.

This training helps the national level athlete remain at her best for the indoor and outdoor seasons. A typical, in-season practice session, from December to the end of June, is more frequent and increasingly intense. Lane goes to class in the morning and then goes to the track at 11 to practice one of her throwing events. After another class, Lane is back at the track from 3:30 until 6:00 p.m.

Lane with LaToya Legree, Sharneka Brown and Coach Jackie Richards.

Like many athletes, Lane has a few pre-meet rituals. She talks to her mom either the night before the meet or prior to her warm-up for some words of encouragement and advice. She also prays and has a specific workout routine.

“Even if I’m not competing in hurdles, I always warm up with hurdle jumps,” Lane said. “I do hurdle drills for about 30 minutes.”

These pre-meet rituals must work for Lane because she has seen success at FSU. In 2003, she finished in second-place at the ACC Outdoor Championships in the heptathlon and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In 2004, she earned All-ACC honors behind a third-place finish in the pentathlon at the league meet. This past season, Lane secured a spot at outdoor nationals with a career-best performance in the heptathlon and moved up to third place all-time in the hurdles.

When Lane isn’t running or at the track, she is finishing up her major in math education with plans on attending graduate school next year in sports management. As many coaches in her life have shown her the way, the Marietta, Ga., native sees coaching in her future as well as training for the Olympics.

For Deanna, her time at FSU has been very memorable. Although the end is near, she has a few more hurdles to clear, including winning conference in the heptathlon and get to the podium in the hurdles as well as earning All-American honors at nationals.

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