Once she ran to tune out the bullies, today she runs because she likes to win and she wins a lot. Today, Sydney Madrid just finished the season, serving as captain of the Marana track and field team.

Madrid recently ran her final races of her high school career at the Division I championship meet, an experience she found quite stressful.

“Honestly, I was terrified because it was my last year,” Madrid said. “It was either a make or break and I really wanted to run a good (300-meter hurdle) race and I did. I calmed myself down and just got aggressive towards the hurdles.”

Madrid finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdles, then competed well in the 300-meter hurdles. She finished tied for first with Jasmin Stauffacher-Gray of North Canyon, both runners crossing the finish line at 43.82 seconds. Technically, Stauffacher-Gray was deemed the champion for the overall team competition because her time in the preliminaries was 0.008 second faster. Despite that, Madrid has no regrets.

“It was the first time I ever felt really competitive during the hurdles and I was not focused on anyone else, just getting to the hurdles,” Madrid said.

It has been big few weeks for the senior. She competed in her fourth state championship meet, graduated and went to prom.

However, while her final year in high school has been filled with positive memories, it hasn’t always been that way for Madrid.

As a self-described “weirdo” who still likes Tim Burton films and offbeat cartoons like “Adventure Time”, Madrid said she didn’t have a lot of friends as a child and was often the target of bullies’ taunts.

“As a kid I was bullied so I did not have that many friends,” Madrid said. “All I would do is run around the playground and do my own thing. Ever since I was little I was the one who was always running, for no apparent reason. I just ran.”

Things were a little better in middle school, the bullying had subsided, and she made a few friends, but for the most part running was her companion. She was on the track team, but was not one of the best runners.

However, something changed when she got to Marana. She suddenly got faster. She also played basketball and qualified for state in hurdles.  After her sophomore year, she gave up basketball and tried her hand at cross-country, twice qualifying for state.

“I came to high school and it somehow all came together and I became a good athlete,” said Madrid.

Today, Madrid is surprised by her success on the track, but her coaches knew she could be good.

“She’s probably the most competitive girl I have ever coached,” said Marana coach Marty Honea. “Just a very intense fire burning inside her to do well.”

That competitiveness spurred her on to work. The girl who loved to run to escape the taunts, could now run to get better.

“We have all said she is the hardest worker we have ever coached,” Honea said. “That comes because she is competitive and she just loves to run.”

The girl running around the playground, the girl with no friends developed into not only the team captain, but she and fellow senior Kilee Hagerstrand usurped the captaincy for the entire team.

“They ran everything,” said Marana girls’ track Camron Dozier. “The boys kind of backed off and they were captains of the whole program.”

Once shy, scared and running to get away, Madrid was now running to people. Her peers now know her because she runs.

“Track is the main reason why I gained so much confidence,” Madrid said. “I grew as a person. I grew mentally, physically and emotionally strong. It really gave me all the confidence.”

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