Rudolph looking to improve upon record-breaking junior season for Bearden track


Susan Kohlstedt

Senior Laila Rudolph runs in a race earlier this year. Rudolph now holds the school record in the 100m and 200m.

Bearden track has started the season off strong at their recent meets with success from both the girls and the boys in almost every category.

One of the runners that has stood out is senior Laila Rudolph. 

Rudolph placed first in the 100-meter-dash at the East Tennessee Jamboree at Farragut and again at the Hardin Valley Invite. 

A majority of their success now and for the future is aided by a highly talented freshman class continuing to grow in their abilities. 

“We have gotten a lot of new freshmen this year, and they are just starting so they have room to build and get even better,” Rudolph said.

The coaching this season has made an impact on not only Rudolph, but the entire team. 

“Coach [Jessica] Sanders, the sprint coach, really believes in us – like that we can all go to state, and she is very optimistic so her encouraging attitude helps,” she said. “Coach [Matthew] Eckert, he just loves watching me run.” 

Not only does optimism bring home hardware for local meets, it sends some of these runners to state. Rudolph is hoping to be a state contender again this season. 

“The people who went to state last year are doing pretty good, like Cayden [Douglas], Cade [Crum], me, Lydia [Lively],” she said. “Everyone is starting where they were and will progress forward.”

Last season, Rudolph broke the 100m and 200m record for Bearden. Rudolph ran 12.10 for the 100, breaking the previous record of 12.19. She is hoping to get down to the 11s this season.

Rudolph has beaten the mental game and come up with strategies to calm the nerves before big races. 

“The main thing is just believing in myself,” she said. “I always get nervous before my meets, but I need to be focused on myself and not my competitors.

“It is me against the clock.”