High School coaches often look to their seniors to be like coaches on the field. For the Hazen girls track team, senior and multiple state champion, Dakota Wood has become a coach both on and off the track this season. Dakota Wood is this weeks Sports Spotlight.
Every time Dakota Wood steps onto the track there's one thing that motivates her
"I just want to show everyone the talent I've been given and be a role model to the younger athletes. That if you want something you can work for it, and just to dream big," said Wood.
A state champion and one of the top athletes for the Bison, Dakota takes her responsibility as a role model seriously
"I'm like the mom kind of. Make sure they eat, and get enough fluids and I warm up with them. I'm always asking them what their goal is for the day. I'm always critiquing them on little stuff, and if they need help they always come to me for questions,"
"A lot of it is just because she's out there with them. She makes sure they're warming up, when they're done at the finish line she's there to say nice job whether they got first or they're in the middle of the pack or where ever they're at. She's always there to encourage them and it doesn't matter what they do she's there," said John Ward, Hazen head coach.
In addition to being a vocal leader she follow her lead and have success of their own.
"It just, to me, it just means that I worked hard enough to be put up there. and every other little kid if they know will say, 'Oh she works hard; I can do that, too,' Just to go after that," said Wood.
Ward said, "it helps because it gives other people goals and like say, 'Hey there's a kid from Hazen that can go there and we can, too,' and you just see that motivation and that inspiration and all the girls just jump on board and it's fun to see the motivation and excitement from those kids."
Going there means North Dakota State where Dakota will run next season. It's a decision that was easy to make
"Because, they're Bison, once a Bison always a Bison. No, but when I went there I felt the most at home and I felt really connected with the athletes and coaches, and I know that I can go there and they're going to make me even better," said Wood.
For now getting better means shaving tenths of a second off her times as she prepares for the state meet, which is May 22-23 in Bismarck.