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Elyria's Tianna Madison turns teacher at 1st track clinic


ELYRIA TWP. - Like any good teacher, Tianna Madison wanted to connect with all the students Saturday at her first track and field clinic at Westwood Middle School.

She appeared to hit a home run with the clinic, titled: Inspire, Ignite, Explode!

Before Madison got started with the interactive phase of the

five-hour clinic, she made a point to relate to the 16 students.

The instruction focused on fundamental physics and several basic mechanics of track and field. To help the students better understand the big picture, Madison sat down and taught a lesson in goal-setting.

The reason? Motivation.

It's integral to the rest of the clinic. No matter how successful Madison came across in the

how-to department, each athlete needed her own "why."

"You have to have a destination, that way you can map the route," said Madison, an Elyria High graduate and the 2005 world champion in the long jump. "I made sure everyone today got one-on-one time."

That emphasis made the clinic flow like a river, despite Madison's worries that it wouldn't run smoothly.

"I totally scripted the clinic. It's how big of a perfectionist I am," said Madison, 25 and a resident of Orlando. "I could have just read all of this, but I learn better when I'm shown something."

Bobby and JoAnn Madison, Tianna's parents, helped. She also drew a big assist from Isaac Newton, the Father of Modern Physics.

Newton's Laws of Motion supported Madison's points of emphasis throughout the day. In particular, she emphasized his law of conservation of angular momentum.

"It made me realize the little things I did affected my race," Avon Lake junior Kristen Winkle said. "We had mandatory track camps when my family lived in Texas, but they were never as good as this. I'm happy that I did this clinic. I know today is going to be a difference-maker."

Technical expertise and knowledge were greatly appreciated, but it was the one-on-one time with Madison that the kids appreciated the most.

"I loved the camp. She was very generous for doing it," said sprinter Gracen Siegenthaler, a fifth-grader from Amherst Middle School. "I learned to swing my arms back better (from out of the drive phase) and load the position. I also learned to explode better out of the blocks."

Lorain freshman sprinter Andreja Dearmas also picked up valuable information.

"I learned to move my arms more efficiently exploding from the blocks," said Dearmas. "It was nice for Tianna to come here on her own time and to do this. I learned a lot from her and how she works on her track skills.

I picked up a lot, so now I have a lot of things I can work on."

Madison welcomed all Lorain County high school and middle school track athletes to attend, regardless of their event. Brookside eighth-grader Creighton Jensen said he jumped at the chance.

"I learned how to use the blocks, that's interesting being a miler," said Jensen. "I found it very important learning the stride phase coming out of a start and to bring the heel up to your butt. I found that very useful. I'd never been to a camp before, but it looked interesting when I learned about it in the newspaper."

The students' connection as the day unfolded pleased Madison. She was upbeat with their response and knows what might need to be tweaked.

"I feel good about today," said Madison. "You have to provide feedback. I needed to slow down parts of the clinic to give that to everyone."

She's excited about a follow-up to her first clinic.

"I'm already brainstorming what I can do in the future," Madison said. "I'm trying to make this type of clinic more of an annual event, because there's never a time in which you don't need to have goals. There's never a season you don't have goals."

Madison heads to Europe for four meets after competing at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on Feb. 6. The Boston event airs on ESPN2 from 2-4 p.m.

Madison's preparing for the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 26-27 in Albuquerque, N.M. Her plans this year for outdoors include qualifying for the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Aug. 27-Sept. 4. She must qualify for worlds from the U.S. Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 23-26.

"High school track is very different," said Madison. "The season opener is very low-key. It's not like when I'm running and there's a countdown to the first meet.

"I'm going into my season now. I've done this. I showed (the students) my training journal. I actually do these things. I try to execute the science. I thought it would be cool to bring them with me on that journey into the indoor season. They'll be able to see it on television next week if I can do what I said you should do."

Contact Paul Heyse at 440-329-7135 or

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