Rejuvenated Darci Khan Looking Past Fall, On To Nationals

By Todd Grasley - MileSplit Correspondent

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In January, a relief washed over Darci Khan when the day finally came to compete at the Texas A&M Invitational. 

The Stockbridge High School (GA) senior had been waiting for that moment for a long time. All of her family lived in Texas, so they all were going to make the trip to College Station -- including her grandmother -- to see her compete on Jan. 5.

"Before I got to the line I went over my race over and over again so I could make a perfect execution," she said. "But the problem about that is my coach and I always discuss to never over think my race and just go out and do what I've been trained to do."

Things went haywire from there. Khan's start was a little slow. The second and third hurdles came too quick. In fact, that's the last thing she remembers. 

The University of Kentucky signee hit the barrier at full speed and came crashing down to the track. She was on the ground for several minutes before needing to be carted off.

"When I went back and looked at the video I saw that I drug my trail leg and it hit the fourth hurdle pretty hard causing me to fall and end with a bruised hip and a minor few scrapes," she said.  "I was actually told it was OK for me to return to practice that Monday,  but I had to take it easy until the pain in my hip subsided."

She admits the incident was pretty painful, but Khan managed to work through it. 

And a little over a month later, she was back. Khan excelled at The Music City High School Indoor Invitational on Feb. 2, winning the 60 meter hurdles in a then-US No. 9 performance of 8.56. 

Not too bad for someone who had to be carted off a track just several weeks prior.

"It definitely gave my confidence a major boost," said Khan, who's working toward beating her PR of 8.39 seconds.  "It is usually pretty hard for me to run a pretty decent time when I don't have someone there to push me, which is something that I am working on doing."

Even though the outdoor season is right around the corner, Khan still has one more indoor meet on her calendar. 

* Commentary Correction: Khan's PR in the 55mH was 7.89 seconds, which she set in 2017

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"I definitely plan on going to New Balance Nationals," she said.

There, she will look to improve on her 13th place showing in both the 55m and 60m hurdles from 2018. But until then, Khan will compete on the outdoor oval for her Stockbridge team.

"It's not much of a difference for myself," she explained. "The only difference is the workouts become longer in distance compared to indoor.

While collegiate hurdles-guru Eldrick Floreal moved on from the University of Kentucky to Texas over the summer, that didn't stop Khan from still choosing the Wildcats as her future destination. Khan was one of the top hurdle prospects in the Class of 2019. 

During the recruiting process everyone told her to choose a school she felt most comfortable with. Khan felt the Lexington, Kentucky, school was that place.

"Kentucky just felt like home for me," she said. "I absolutely loved the the team and the coaching staff as well as the school environment. After my official visit I had a gut feeling that Kentucky was the dream school I had been looking for."

Now with her college decision locked in, Khan says she can now focus on her senior season, which includes some unfinished business and improving on her personal bests of 13.56 in the 100 meter hurdles and 42.37 in the 300 meter hurdles.

"I'm striving to win state in both the 100 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles and then win NBNO and reach my best performance," she exclaimed. "When my high school career is over I want people to say that Darci Khan is a very humble, hard working athlete, who strives to be her absolute best on and off the track."

Get To Know Darci Khan:

What are three things people may not know about you?

I play with people's ears when I'm sleepy, which is all the time, I know how to tumble very well, and I have a YouTube channel. If anyone wants to subscribe to Darci Simone be my guest.

Are there any shows you are bingeing on Netflix?

I am currently bingeing a show called The Blacklist.

Do you have any pre-race superstitions?

I have this thing where if I warm up too much before I run I'm going to be too tired to run. It is completely not true but I still feel like I would. Also, I get really sleepy right before I run and I can't stop yawning, but I only do it because I'm nervous, which is weird.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

The best advice I have ever received is "Do what's best for you and don't worry about anyone else's opinion."

If you weren't a track athlete what sport would you do?

If I wasn't a track athlete I would be playing volleyball.