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Track and Field: Hayes in USA Outdoor Championships

By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone College News Service

Livingstone graduate Quanera Hayes ran her way into the record books last month by winning

the NCAA Division II national championship in the 400 meters and 200 meters.

Now Hayes will compete in Oregon this weekend at the USA Outdoor Championships in hopes

of earning a spot on the U.S. national team. If Hayes is successful, she’ll represent America at the 2015 IAAF World Championships, Aug. 22-30, in Beijing, China.

“Quanera is a very unique athlete, and she has a lot of range as a sprinter,” said Livingstone

sprint coach Tim Dunlap. “I believe she’s at the beginning of posting up some numbers that will

be unbelievable. In college she had to participate in multiple events, but as she tries to become

professional she’s concentrating only on the 400.”

Hayes graduated from Livingstone on May 2.

“She’s been a blessing for our program for the last four years,” Livingstone Track and Field

Coach Justin Davis said. “What she’s been able to accomplish in her time here is unparalleled.”

Since leaving Livingstone, Hayes has been living and training in Florida. She’s putting her trust

in God about this weekend’s performance and holding fast to Proverbs 3:5-6, which reads:

‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thy own understanding. In all thy ways

acknowledge him and he shall direct thy path.'”

She credits Dunlap, Davis and her mother, Lesley Capers, for her success.

“Coach Davis was always there for me and Coach Dunlap has really pushed me to run faster and

smarter,” Hayes said. “My mom is my heart. She pushes me and always makes a way to come

see me run.”

Dunlap said to earn a spot on the U.S. team, Hayes must run at least 50.9.

“Her best competitive time is 51.54, so she’s not that far off,” he said. “I’ve been talking to her

lately, and she’s gotten down to 51.1 during practice. I won’t be able to join her in Oregon

because I’ll be attending the high school nationals with three younger athletes I’m working with,

but I feel like Quanera will make it.”

Since she won two national titles on May 23, Hayes has been practicing diligently.

“I wake up at 7 to get breakfast and to let everything have time to settle on my stomach before

going out in the hot sun so I don’t get sick,” Hayes said recently. “I’m putting in three intense

hours of training every day. The 400 is such a strategic race that if you don’t have it together you

can’t have your time the way you want it. I’m still learning and getting better.”

When she’s not practicing, Hayes reads voraciously and keeps a journal.

“I haven’t written anything about being a champion,” she said. “Mostly it’s stuff about faith and

trying to grow and be a better Christian.”

Which makes perfect sense to her mother.

“She’s nervous about her chances of making the USA team, but I know she has a lot of faith and

a lot of confidence in herself,” Capers said. “It seems like every year she runs she progresses a

little further. Running gives her peace of mind…and words can’t explain how proud I am of her.

Back in May when she crossed the finish line, she gave all the glory to God…”

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