Track sprinter A’dondre Blacknall quickly made an impression on the coaching staff as a raw novice during Parkland’s pre-season training sessions. In his first day at practice, Blacknall, a senior who had never run competitively, handled every phase of the Mustangs’ rigorous conditioning workouts.
That’s very significant when you consider that even those runners with prior experience had trouble getting through those regimens when they first arrived at Parkland. It didn’t take long for coach Antwan Hughes to recognize that Blacknall is a budding talent who will only get better with more training and experience.
“That’s very rare for anyone to come in and do what he did,” said Hughes. “A’dondre is gifted and his work ethic is off the charts. Had he come in as a freshman, there’s no telling how good he might be right now.”
As a newcomer, Blacknall, made his mark this past winter as part of the Mustangs’ 4x200 relay that finished eighth at the NCHSAA Class 4-A state indoor championships. This spring, he’s being counted on to the anchor the 4x100 relay.
“If I had to choose between A’dondre and another runner with equal speed, I’d pick A’dondre,” said Hughes. “Regardless of whether it’s practice or competition, he gives it his all every time.”
Blacknall’s ability to deal with the rugged training comes from his four-year background in Junior ROTC. As a senior, he’s attained the highest rank of Cadet Lieutenant Colonel.
The military-style physical training that cadets are exposed to has helped immensely. The distance running and obstacle-course training have enabled him to develop a nice mix of speed and stamina.
Blacknall had an interest in running track, but he didn’t pursue it until friends urged him to try out. His progress has been noteworthy and there’s a reasonable chance that he could attract interest from college coaches in the weeks to come.
“The best part of my race is the finish because of my acceleration,” said Blacknall. “I’m working on performing well enough to get a college scholarship.”
Craig T. Greenlee