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East sprinter provides leadership on team

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When Andrea Hendrickson began running track for Columbus East three years ago, Glen Brown had a feeling she’d be pretty good.

After all, Brown had coached Hendrickson’s father, Tom, in football when Brown first came to East in 1980. Tom Hendrickson was a standout on the Olympians 1979 state championship team and an All-State senior linebacker in 1980 before going on to play at Indiana University.

Now, Tom’s youngest daughter is wrapping up a career on the track, where she has been the Olympians’ top sprinter the past four years.

“I’ve known her since she was born, basically, because I keep in touch with Tom,” said Brown, East’s girls track coach. “I kind of think I can push her, and she’s going to respond because I know what kind of father she had. He was a workaholic all the time and did well.”

Tom also ran track and was a state qualifier in the 440 yards as a sophomore.

“He’s really good about, if I ever am frustrated after a meet or if I ever think I’m not performing my best, he always gives me some advice that he’s been able to draw experience from,” Andrea said.

“She’s a hard worker,” Tom said. “She’s done a lot of that herself. I got slower as I got older, and she’s been able to maintain her speed and get faster. She’s been able to buck that trend a little bit. She takes track real serious, and she’s done well.”

This year, Andrea has been as fast as 12.8 in the 100 meters and 26.8 in the 200. That 100 time came against the wind in a dual meet Thursday at Shelbyville.

“For a sprinter, she’s a strong runner,” Brown said. “In the 100 and the 200, the last half of the race is her strongest point. She gets stronger as she goes along.”

“She has worked hard the last three years both in the winter workouts and in season, and it’s paying off for her,” Brown said. “She has a good work ethic and good leadership. She makes sure things are the way they’re supposed to be when they come out here. I rely on her a lot for that.”

Andrea has been one of the top leaders on an off the track for the Olympians, along with senior shot and discus thrower Sarah Loesch and senior high jumper Erin Mack, who just returned from a torn ACL.

“She’s definitely a leader,” Brown said. “She’s leading our young sprint corps. We have seven seniors and a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so they need some good leadership, and she’s providing a lot of it.

“She’s been our solid performer, along with Sarah this year,” he said. “She’s one that we count on for points about every meet.”

Andrea feels like she’s having the best year of her four years of high school track.

“I feel like it’s been better than most,” Andrea said. “I started faster at the beginning of the season that I have in the past, and most of my (100) times have been consistently right under 13, which last year was hard for me to do. I think I’ve gotten better progressively throughout the years.”

Tonight, Andrea will help lead East into the Hoosier Hills Conference meet at Jennings County. Besides the 100 and 200, she runs the 4x100 relay.

“For conference, I’m just going to try to do my best and run as fast as I can,” Andrea said. “We haven’t ran against a lot of the conference teams yet, so I can’t compare myself. For the sectional, I’m hoping to get out and make it to regional again like I did last year.”

Andrea realizes her competitive athletic career is drawing to a close. She plans to attend IU and major in sociology, with a minor in Spanish. After college, she wants to do social work or human resources work with large companies or nonprofit organizations.

“It’s going to be different,” Andrea said. “I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I’m leaving high school forever, but definitely track has been a highlight of my four years. I made a lot of close friends that I’m going to miss a lot. I’m thankful for the experience that I’ve had.”

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