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Already school 100 record-holder, Lady Eagles' Hopper sets new standard in 200


Taylor Hopper has established herself as the premier sprinter in Nixa girls track history by adding the 200 to her list of school records.

Hopper ran a winning time of 26.12 in the 200 at the Branson Relays on Thursday to break Alli Brumley’s previous Lady Eagles 2019 standard of 26.2.

Hopper also has the Lady Eagles’ 100 record of 12.42 from her freshman season two years ago.

She would love a trifecta, as she nears the Lady Eagles’ 400 record of 59.50, set by Allyson Galler in 2013.

“Oh my gosh, that would be such a great accomplishment for my high school career,” said Hopper, who also won the 100 Thursday in 12.75 and the 400 in 59.71. “That would be a great thing to talk about when I'm old and talking to my kids.”

The sizzling start to Hopper’s junior season has confirmed in her mind she made the right decision by not playing basketball to concentrate fully on track workouts over the winter months.

“This was the first time I focused on track (in the off-season) and put 110 percent effort into it,” Hopper said. “I’ve been working out since July. Dedicating myself to those hours, now I'm slowly seeing that hard work pay off. My decision was to give my all to a sport that I could see myself having a lot of potential in. 

"I'd always given my life to basketball, all the way from second grade,” she added. “Having that end opened a whole new door of opportunities in track now for me. I felt God had a different plan for me. I saw what He was lining up for me.”

Hopper is flourishing after enduring a subpar sophomore season by her standards. She did not qualify for State a year ago.

“I would say it was not the outcome I wanted,” Hopper said while summing up her sophomore year. “I also would say it was a learning lesson. Having an off year and not running so well taught me to be more patient, be more humble and have more gratitude. I realized that my life is so much bigger than sport and I should be grateful for everything around me.

“It has served as (motivation) for me to beat my freshman self and myself from last year,” she added. “I’m already blowing myself from last year out of the water and I'm even blowing myself from my freshman year in the 400 out of the water. The goals are starting to pile up. I need to start making some more.”

Hopper was just as thrilled about breaking into the 59s in the 400 as she was about setting the 200 school record.

“I couldn't have imagined for the second meet of the year going under a minute,” she said. “It’s crazy. I’m shooting for the school record. I'm going to keep chipping away. I'm working on my block start to make sure I can maintain my speed and beat everyone out of the block."

Even though Hopper owned the 100 school record first, she feels the 200 and 400 will prove to be her niche races.

“The 200 and 400 are my best races because I'm able to gain more speed on the back end,” she said. “But I still love the 100 and it will always have a place in my heart.”