Modesty Lorick isn’t a typical student at Frederick Douglass High School.
Her days start normally enough, waking up at 7 a.m., eating breakfast and heading out the door for the 8:30 a.m. start of classes. But it’s at 4 p.m., on the track at the Upper Marlboro school, when Lorick transforms from a student to an athlete with an impossibly steadfast work ethic and a dedication unrivaled by teammates and competitors.
At practice she puts in reps for her events, which include the 100-meter hurdles, 400 hurdles, 800, several relay teams, and multiple jumps. In between fine-tuning for the hurdles, running through sprint workouts and jumping drills, she keeps her eye on freshman Kayla Wright. Whenever her rookie teammate begins the final lap of any workout, Lorick will drop what she is doing and join Wright to push her to run faster. Wright recently notched a personal record by eight seconds in the 1,600 at Central High’s Falcon Invitational.
“She works very hard in practice,” Douglass coach Malcolm Drewery said of his captain. “She’s silly at times but she can be very serious. She’s a team leader and she gets on everybody about what they should be doing.”
Most of the Eagles leave practice by 6 p.m. Lorick stays until 8:30, sometimes 9, working with the Douglass boys team captain, Kyle Smith, and a few others on her jumping events.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” she said when asked where she gets the energy to complete her 14-hour days five days per week. “It’s just a runner’s high. I just have all this energy sometimes.”
Her dedication to track and field has paid off with two county titles in the triple jump and one in the 300 hurdles and a state title in an event she said she never expected she would be good at: the 55 hurdles.
“A lot of people don’t see me as a short hurdler,” Lorick said. “It was really exciting though and a little shocking.”
Her stamina, built up from a rigorous, non-stop practice routine, combined with unusually long strides from her 5-foot-5 frame favor her for the longer hurdling events. In her first season with Douglass after transferring from Oxon Hill her sophomore year, Lorick won the county and 2A South Region titles in the 300 hurdles. She finished third in that event in last year’s 2A state meet.
“It’s just a good race for me,” she said during the Falcon Invitational on March 31. “I can run and I can do hurdles.”
Last spring, she also placed second in the state and region in the 100 hurdles.
“She’s just starting to get into the shorter hurdles,” Drewery said. “She’s a very quick learner so we just have to make sure we focus on technique. She likes the longer runs better because she has long strides and can get into a rhythm.”
Lorick’s versatility on the track and in the field events has given Drewery a problem, but it’s one that he doesn’t mind having. Each meet he has to pick and choose which events Lorick will participate in, as athletes typically are limited to five events per meet. During the indoor season she tried her hand at seven different events.
“It’s pretty difficult to pick because she is so talented in so many different events,” Drewery said. “We put together a plan for what she is going to do and we go forward with it. She is always saying, ‘Let’s do this or let’s do that,’ and that’s what makes her the leader she is.”
During the Falcon Invitational, as she was picking up dozens of medals and ribbons for her teammates, she pointed out that she wasn’t running in the 800 relay, the 400 relay, or the 400.
“I’d like to run in those,” she said. “I don’t see why I didn’t.”
Although she already had competed in four events that day, her appetite for competition still was not satiated.
“I’m not scared of competition. I like competition,” she said. “You’ll never see me on the starting line saying I’m scared to face somebody.”
Lorick will get home after 9 p.m. most weeknights. After a shower and dinner she gets through any homework she couldn’t finish during the 40-minute study hall that comes between the end of classes and the start of practice. Then it’s bed time and another repeat of the 14-hour day at 8000 Croom Road.
“During track season there’s nothing I really do outside of school and track,” she said. “I’m completely invested in it. I know it’s what I want to do and it’s going to pay off in the long run.”