After helping Tonganoxie High win a state championship in the boys 4x400 relay this year, DJ Lindsay could have coasted in the offseason.
A summer of relaxation sprinkled with some individual workouts wouldn’t have been bad. The THS senior easily could have maintained his speed, strength and conditioning.
However, Lindsay is not one to coast. The lightning-quick Chieftains sprinter only knows overdrive.
That’s why — even though he hesitated at first — Lindsay decided to join the Kansas City High Performance AAU track club this summer. His initial reluctance stemmed from the thought that signing on would take up his free time. He was right about that.
Two days a week, Lindsay joins his 4x400 teammates for practice in Leavenworth and although they take Wednesdays off, the sprinters spend their other two weekdays traveling to Ruskin High in Kansas City, Mo., for more practice with KCHP.
Lindsay said the investment has been worth it. Running the 200, 400 and 4x100 as well for the club, he has been improving his times, shaving off valuable seconds.
“Hopefully, by next year in high school, I’ll be way down there,” Lindsay said.
The secret to his success has been a new running approach taught by KCHP’s volunteer staff. Based on the mechanics of Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell, Lindsay said the technique, which he described as a “roto style,” has been exceedingly helpful.
“You speed up in circles and instead of reaching for the ground, you’re grabbing it,” Lindsay said. “You get on that back stretch and you’re tired most of the time — you keep pushing and pushing to try and get ground. But if you go roto, you just kind of glide.”
That makes Lindsay quite a weapon in the 4x400. Lindsay is the anchor for the 1,600 relay with Bay Abbott, St. James Academy, and Leavenworth’s Justin Logan and Johnny Barnett.
The quartet ran the 4x400 in 3:19 (four seconds better than Tonganoxie’s state championship time) on June 20 at Olathe. The lead sprinters have been running their splits in 48 or 49 seconds and Lindsay has been clocked as low as 47 seconds.
KCHP coaches want the team down to 3:15 in time for the AAU Junior Olympic Games the first week of August in Des Moines. Their next chance to propel toward that goal comes this weekend in Edwardsville, Ill., for the AAU National Qualifier Meet.