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Cadet makes school history with Gatorade Award

For the first time in school history, a Cadet was named the Gatorade Indiana Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.

Symone Black, a 2014 graduate, took home that coveted honor in June.

“I had a lot of awards I didn’t expect to get and that was one of them,” she said. “It’s really a blessing to be able to go through this experience.”

The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track, according to the news release from Gatorade.

Black, a freshman at Purdue University, set a state record in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 41.36 seconds and won the 100-meter high hurdles in 14.17 seconds at the state championships in the spring. Because of her performance, she was named Ms. Indiana Track and Field by the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches.

Along with being a talented athlete, she is a dedicated student, having earned a 3.15 GPA, and she is also a devoted volunteer in the community, working with Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic as well as various cleanup initiatives.

“Symone is as humble as she is talented,” her coach Quinton Dixie told Gatorade. “She’s competitive and hardworking but has a strong sense of balance in her life. She’s been a joy to work with.”

Black found a love for hurdles in middle school, and really found her stride at Concordia. It was that success that led to a scholarship to Purdue this fall.

“I was nervous at first,” she said. “(But) I got to high school, and I ended up doing the 300 hurdles, and it just clicked for me.”

But Black credits all of her track success to her Concordia coaches for pushing her to do her best.

“I definitely couldn’t have done anything without my support system — my team and my coaches,” she said. “All of the coaches did their part.”

The state Gatorade Award qualified Black for the National Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year. She joins an elite alumni association from 12 sports, including such athletes as Derek Jeter, Lolo Jones and Candace Parker.

“If you have a dream, don’t let anyone or anything take it away from you,” Black told Gatorade. “Work for what you want and always keep your dream in mind. Set little goals for yourself to help you along the way. It may be a rough, long road to finally get what you want but always persevere.”