Match made in heaven
Her high school coach believes LaToya Anderson’s best track days are ahead of her. Her college coach is counting on it — that and her versatility and character.
Anderson recently signed a letter of intent to run track at Oklahoma Christian University, an NAIA school in Oklahoma City.
“She’s a late bloomer,” Clovis High coach Darrel Ray said. “Every year she’s shown steady improvement. She ran some really good times this year. She just hasn’t been consistent.”
An honors student with an interest in a business career, Anderson was a member of three-straight state championship 400-meter relay teams and capped off a solid senior season by finishing second in Class 5A in the 100 meters and third in the 200.
Ray said Anderson’s contributions this spring went well beyond her physical talent.
“She is such a great leader,” Ray said. “We brought up a lot of young kids at the end of the year to add depth and she made sure they fit it.”
Ray said he couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of a college scholarship than Anderson.
“I’m so excited for her,” Ray said. “I like it that somebody like her can get some kind of reward for working so hard.”
Anderson said she had her mind set on running track in college and caught a break when OCU’s top sprinter decided to leave the team, opening up a spot for her.
“I always felt something would come up,” said Anderson, whose hero is Olympic sprint champion Marion Jones.
Oklahoma Christian coach Randy Heath is excited about the late addition.
“What impressed me the most is she already has the leg speed, plus she has the determination and desire to run the longer sprints,” Heath said. “I think she can come in and help us immediately and be a factor in the Sooner Athletic Conference championships.”
Heath said he learned about Anderson through the school’s administration office. The more he learned about her the more he liked.
“After I talked to Coach Ray I knew she would be a good fit for us,” Heath said. “He told me she’s a hard worker and a good leader. We look for a certain type of student-athlete.”
At OCU Anderson will run indoor track for the first time.
“I’m very excited about that,” she said. “I’ll get to run the 55 meters and I’ve always wanted to do that.”
A devout Christian, Anderson feels the small private school is a perfect fit.
“They have a really good business school and seems like they really care about their students,” said Anderson, who also played basketball at Clovis.
She said her passion for running track runs second only to her commitment to her faith.