JAMESTOWN — As a kid, Laney Hines would pretend to be a horse and jump over makeshift hurdles in her home.
“I thought it was fun,” the Greeneview High School junior said. “I’m super into horses and horse jumping. I was jumping stuff like this high (holding her hands about 3 feet off the ground) when I was like 12 in my hallway because I thought it was cool.”
Hines had no clue that “cool” fun would lead her to four-event stardom as a track and field athlete in high school. But that’s exactly what happened.
Hines is a two-time Ohio Heritage Conference long jump champion, has OHC titles in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles and also anchors the 400 meter relay team.
Heading into Thursday’s Division-II district meet at Piqua, the speedster is one of the favorites to advance to the regional in at least three of her four events. According to Ohio MileSplit rankings, Hines ranks first in D-II Southwest District in the long jump and 100 hurdles, and second in the 300 hurdles. The top four at district advance to regional.
The relay team, which includes Hannah Finley, Kayden Ashley, and Kayla Finley, is ranked sixth, but the team has won four of nine events and could easily slip into the top four.
That kind of success in just two seasons (her sophomore season was lost due to COVID) has not surprised Coach Tim Aronhalt. Hines won just about everything there was to win in middle school.
“She kind of burst on the scene as a freshman,” he said. “We knew she was coming and knew we were expecting good things.”
But those expectations were quickly exceeded.
“I was amazed from the start,” Aronhalt said. “And now how technically sound she is in the hurdles which has made my job a lot easier. Gonna try not to screw her up to be honest with you. We knew we were getting something special.”
Give a big assist to Hines’ mother, Amy, who saw something when she was still a preteen.
“My mom had me starting hurdles when I was in sixth grade,” Hines said. “She just knew that I would be good at it. I started out really young doing this stuff.”
Hines would race anyone and everyone, anywhere at any time.
“I always liked racing people because I knew I would beat them,” Hines said. “Even in elementary school, every day at recess I would race people. That was just a big confidence builder growing up.”
Still confident and almost a lock to make the regional in the long jump, Hines is hoping to be the first Greeneview long jumper to make it to the state meet since Shaytell Furman qualified in 2010 with an OHC record leap of 17 feet, 2.75 inches.
She was on the cusp as a freshman but a foul on a big jump kept her from making it to Columbus.
“Those things happen,” Aronhalt said. “She learned from it.”
She learned she has the ability to win the regional, as the jump was marked around 17 feet, which would have likely won the regional. Aronhalt called it one of those jumps where “everybody did a ‘wow.’ “
Hines is hoping to “wow” everyone again this year and make it to state.
“It would mean a lot,” she said. “We were a little let down freshman year really cutting it that close. I was just frustrated because I knew that I could do it and we just had bad luck that day.”
But that’s a hurdle she’s hoping to get over this year.
Much like the ones she set up in her hallway.