CLARKSTON — Like a finishing kick on the track, Berkley’s DaKaya Cunningham hit his junior season stretch with vengeance.
Losing time week after week, it seems, Cunningham can rightly claim the title of fastest girl in Oakland County, having won the 100 and 200 meters at the Oakland County High School Championships. Friday.
“It’s just been honestly crazy. I was just like, the faster I run, the faster I finish. I really wanted to win and it’s honestly a matter of heart,” Cunningham said. “I was tired to enter the 200. And at the 120 (mark), I was like, “You know what I heard, we were neck and neck. I saw her from the side of the eye but it is like who wanted it the most and I just kept driving. And no matter how tired I was, I kept moving my arms and in my head, I was like ‘You get it. You got it. understood’, and as soon as I heard it was a PR, it was like I could keep falling too.
Cunningham’s time of 25.05 in the 200m was indeed a personal best (PR), the fourth time she has set a new standard for herself in the event this year. Her best time last year was 26.55, a mark she broke for the first time this year on May 6 at the Mark Carpenter Invite to Divine Child, finishing third in 26.47.
She was just a tick in the OAA Blue-Gold Championship preliminaries, then shaved off a third of a second in the final, when she won the championship in 26.11. She lost another three-quarters of a second with her regional title race at Farmington last weekend (25.28), then another quarter-second with Friday’s race.
It was the same in the 100, where she was three hundredths of a second off her PR from last year in her first race of this season, then set a new mark of one hundredth of a second on April 27. , in a twi -meet Southfield and Royal Oak.
Since then, she has been the subject of public relations four more times – in a triangle meet on May 2, in the preliminaries at the OAA Blue-Gold Championships, then in the preliminaries and finals at the regionals, where she finished second.
Her time of 12.39 to win Friday’s 100 matched the mark she had set a week earlier.
What was his motivation?
She had never been to the state meeting.
“In the first year because of COVID, I didn’t have a season. And last year when I was just running 12.8 thinking it was impossible to run 12.65 to get to the US. And the missing states really made me more motivated to work harder. And after that I just pushed, worked hard, just practiced, did whatever I could,” Cunningham said. “And then it’s also about believing in it. Like, I said, ‘I can do this, I can get this PR, I can just keep wasting time.’ So if you believe in yourself, it will continue to go down. And I saw that when I was running. And when I’m tired, it’s like a huge motivation to keep running faster. And I didn’t slow down, I just pushed to the finish line.
There was also another motivation. Wanting to go to the next level – not the next level in high school. The higher level AFTER high school.
“I saw other girls, and how they got scholarships and stuff like that. And it feels like it’s my time to change. I can’t sit and watch. If I want my name out there, I have to drop time. … So that was a motivation,” Cunningham said. “I want to race in college…so I have to. I have to put my name there. And just run hard and just believe me. Honestly, that’s the most important thing – just knowing that I’m my only competition at every event, in the most humble way. But I have to put myself first and believe that if I can do it, then I can.