Darrell Moody
Distance runner Abby Pradere will be heading to the state championship track meet on Friday and Saturday.
Jim Grant | Nevada Appeal

Abby Pradere learned one big lesson in her state-meet debut in 2016.

“I have to run my own race, and not let who is running affect how I run,” said Pradere, Carson High’s talented sophomore distance standout. “I didn’t stick with my race strategy.”

Pradere was second in the 800 and a disappointing fifth in the 1600-meter race, and she’s hoping to improve her performance Friday and Saturday at the State Track & Field Championships at Foothill High in Henderson.

With a full year of training under her belt, Pradere believes she’s better equipped to deal with the likes of Karina Haymore and Alex Gourrier, both of Centennial. The Centennial duo will give her much more competition than anybody in Northern Nevada has this year.

“I feel stronger,” Pradere said. “I haven’t run as fast as I wanted to, but I feel better when I run.

“It could (not being seriously challenged) have something to do with it. It is also me not pushing myself as hard as I could. We are always racing against the clock.”

Pradere’s dad, Steve, a former track standout himself, is coaching the Senators’ girls distance team this year.

“Abby has had a great season,” coach Pradere said. “She had a great off-season. She ran about 500 miles in the winter, which was quite a bit more than we did last year. We added a lot of sustained intervals. It simulates the races better.”

Pradere ran a 2:15.45 a year ago, but the rail-thin Haymore was several seconds ahead with a 2:09.80. In the 1600, Haymore ran a 5:08.20, Gourrier finished in 5:17.21 and Pradere ran a 5:28.99.

Obviously the 1600 was a disappointment because she wasn’t a factor, and that bothered the ultra-competitive Pradere. The CHS sophomore said last year is a distant memory.

“It’s a new year,” she said. “It wasn’t my race. We’ll try it again this year. I feel good; feel confident.”

Pradere said she has seen both Las Vegas runners this year in Arizona and at Arcadia, but has either been in a different section or different heat.

“We’ve been to the same events, but haven’t raced each other,” Pradere said. “I watched Haymore run at Arcadia because we stayed for the whole meet. That is the only time I’ve seen her.

“There are a lot of good competitors (in both races). Everybody has a chance. Who goes out and races the best (will win). It comes down to that. I’m just going to go out there and see what happens. Both races are going to be pretty hard.”

The Carson sophomore said she feels more confident running the 800, and she runs the races differently.

“I feel more comfortable; that I can go out in front right away in the 800,” she said. “I feel better about my 1600 after last week, though.

“Negative splits are good. I’m just trying to run an even race.”

Pradere led the 1600 for the better part of the race, and when Bishop Manogue’s Rosie Linkus closed the gap with less than 100 meters left, the Carson standout had some more juice in her tank and pulled away.

The elder Pradere has high hopes and a lot of confidence, and he also pointed out the pace will be quicker than normal.

“I think in both races she has a chance to be competitive,” he said. “She deserves to be in the same race with them. She is going to have to shave a few seconds in both races to have a chance to win. They will be fast races.”

Pradere’s third race is the 1600 relay, and it was her grit down the stretch that got the Senators the final state-qualifying spot in a season-best 4:09. Pradere was in fifth place with about 150 meters to go, and she out-leaned a McQueen runner at the line for third place. She fell to the track as she crossed the finish line, scraping her elbow in the process.

“I think we have a shot at placing,” said Pradere, who runs with Annika Wick, Jaidyn Shepard and Ashley Britt. “There are some really fast teams out there with girls who can run under 60.”

And, the Carson quartet knows it needs to get down to 4:05 or lower to get a top-four finish. It’s certainly doable if all the handoffs go without a hitch. Carson had one handoff issue last week.