The Richmond Register

Sports

June 6, 2014

H.S. TRACK: Model’s Botts signs with Eastern Kentucky University

RICHMOND — EKU track coach Rick Erdmann didn’t have very far to go to pick up his latest recruit for next season.

Model Laboratory’s Darrian Botts became the newest member of the Colonel track and field team Thursday when she signed her letter of intent at a ceremony at the  school.

Botts has been a mainstay on the Patriots’ track teams for the past five seasons and is one of the top long and triple jumpers in the state.

She currently holds the Model school record in the triple jump at 36 feet, 6.25 inches, besting the school record she set two years ago of 33 foot, six inches.

Quite an accomplishment for someone who Model coach Mark Pressley said he had to coax into even trying the long and triple jump a few years ago.

“Four years ago I said, ‘Why don’t you try jumping?’ She said, ‘Nah, I’d rather sprint. Sprinting is my thing.’ Three years ago I asked again if she wanted to try the long jump and she said, ‘No, I’m a sprinter. I’m sure I can’t jump and I probably wouldn’t like it,’” Pressley said. “Two years ago after basketball ended I asked again if she would try the long jump and told her she had two days to practice before the Mason Dixon Games. She did and finished second in the Mason Dixon games and then second in the state. She came to me afterward and said,  I kind of like this. Can we get some extra work in after practices?”

That was the beginning of what turned into a passion for Botts, something she was willing to put her whole effort into to become the best jumper she could be.

Pressley said Botts always wanted to put in extra practice each day and he had to run her off the track at night.

But that dedication paid off and last season she blossomed into one of the best jumpers in the state, finishing near the top in the prestigious Eastern Relays — the largest outdoor track and field event in the state, with competitors from Kentucky and eight surrounding states.

This season she finished second at the Eastern Relays, behind only Madison Central star Maryssa Stewart, and placed third in both the long and triple jumps at the Class A State Track Meet last month.

Model assistant track and field coach David Townsend said Botts’ success in the jumps is no surprise.

“Her dedication to her craft is second-to-none. She is committed, she is disciplined and her work ethic is tremendous,” he said. “Every day she wanted to come late, even during basketball season, she wanted to get on the track as whenever she could. She never wanted to go home. I was always having to tell her to go home.”

“I knew this was coming for her. I know she has a lot of unleashed potential that will be unleashed at EKU,” he added.

Botts said once she tried jumping, she fell in love with it from the beginning.

“I really didn’t think I would grow to love jumping like I do. But when I first started I thought, ‘Wow, this is so much fun,’” Botts said. “It was almost immediately. Once I got the hang of how to jump and how to go down the runway, it all fell into place and became really fun. Now I can’t think of anything I would rather do.”

When it came time to look for a place to continue her career, Botts said she checked out both the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky before she decided EKU was where she really wanted to be.

“I looked at UK and Louisville, but Eastern was just the best fit. It’s the right size for me coming from a small school, and it just seemed like the best fit for me,” she said. “EKU is close to home and I’ve trained on Eastern’s track for as long as I can remember. It’s a wonderful opportunity to continue my career on the same track that I started on and be close to home at the same time. And EKU has a wonderful staff. I can’t wait to get started.”

Botts has also been a standout on the basketball court for the Lady Patriots as well, scoring more than 1,500 points in her career.

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