Sydney Holiday Is Taking Unique Approach To Recruiting Year

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Sydney Holiday had a plan, and then the plan unraveled in March. 

Because of the 'rona

And so the Colorado teen, a senior at Broomfield High School who was one of her state's best sprinters -- she had the potential to win the sprint double in 2020 before the season was canceled --  wasn't quite sure what her next move was until she spoke with her parents, Kent and Ginger, and her coach, FK Elite's Chuck Dugue.  

Interestingly enough, they suggested a sometimes-used method for young individuals seeking to explore the world before their next academic period. 

A gap year. 

"(College) is a big decision, because you'll be there for four years," Holiday said. "I just think, with all the other things surrounding coronavirus, and not knowing when we're going back, it will be good for me to continue to train, and I think I can stay with my coach another year." 

A gap year

The idea made a lot of sense for Holiday when she thought about -- to be frank, it makes sense for a lot of athletes who are still looking into that crystal ball.

She didn't have a chance to visit many campuses. And with time running out, she didn't want to pick the wrong college. At the end of the day, she didn't want to go somewhere and hate it. She didn't want to eventually transfer. 

Photo Credit: Submitted

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"I have no idea where I best fit," she said. "Or where I find myself without seeing the colleges and bonding with the teammates." 

Holiday's original plan was to compete at NSAF Outdoor Nationals in the 100m and 200m and maybe the long jump and secure a time that would help either boost a scholarship offer or find a completely new one. 

And then when that seemed unlikely -- NSAF has yet to officially cancel its championship meet -- she, along with her parents and coach, came up with an idea that could put her in an even better spot by 2021.

Why don't you take the year off, train with Coach Dugue, compete in a few meets unattached, and when the world opens up again, try to travel and learn more about yourself?

"I've been only with him for one year," Holiday said of working with Dugue. 

She transfered to Broomfield in her junior year after two seasons at Ten Sleep High School in Wyoming, where she won six outdoor state titles, including a four-peat as a sophomore in the 100m, 200m, 100mH and long jump. As a junior in Colorado, she was the runner-up to Arria Minor in the 100m and 200m in Class 5A. 

"He's helped me go from 12.3 to 11.5. I've made huge improvements with him," she added of Dugue's coaching. "If I had one more year, I want to see where I can go." 

It's true, maybe that year is all she needs. 

Holiday was close to breaking through as one of the country's elite sprinters in 2020. Even before New Balance Nationals Indoor -- which was canceled in March due to fears over the spread of COVID-19 -- she was ranked US No. 8 in the 60m with a time of 7.46 and won a Simplot Games title at the distance. A year prior, she had finished indoors ranked US No. 24 in the 200m with a time of 24.34, earning another win at Simplot.  

* Holiday in the Class 5A 200m final in 2019

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As a junior, Holiday finished her outdoor track and field season with a US No. 35 effort in the 100m, finishing seventh in the finals of the U.S. Track and Field U20 Championships in Florida in 11.59 seconds. That memory, she says, will go down as one of her favorite as a high schooler. 

"I remember thinking, 'I made the finals!'" she said. "I was so proud of myself." 

Without an outdoor season, few colleges were granted the opportunity to see Holiday's improvement in the 200m, a race she was hoping to secure a sub-24 second effort in as a senior. Nor was Holiday given the chance to follow-up her runner-up performances in the 100m and 200m as a junior in Colorado. 

The next year, she believes, she can hit those markers with Coach Dugue. Her plan is to enter collegiate meets in Colorado and race unattached against collegiate competition. 

"When schools go back in session, I can take official visits and figure out where I want to be," she said. 

In some ways, the move is a risk.

In the worst case scenerio, she plateaus and the offers don't come. Or, worse yet, an injury occurs and sidelines her efforts all together. 

But Holiday also sees the bigger picture, too. She's not just an athlete. Her father, Kent, works with a company that travels internationally for work. She could do the same and explore sites unknown.

"I think I'd rather take this risk than go to a school I'm unsure about."

In February, Holiday ran in a small meet at the University of Washington at The Dempsey Indoor facility. She marveled at the purple track, and the way spikes flew off the mondo surface. 

It was her last official high school race. She ran unattached. 

"I wish I could go back in time and know that was my last meet," she said. "I would take it all in." 

Photo Credit: Submitted

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