Things have worked out well recently for Guyer senior Candalyn Lyons.
After a disappointing performance at the 2013 UIL state track and field meet as a junior, Lyons got redemption by bringing home two state relay medals last month to close out her four-year high school track and field career.
On Friday, all of Lyons’ hard work over the years paid off when she signed her national letter of intent to run track at Tulsa, becoming the third female sprinter in Guyer history to earn a Division I track scholarship.
“God has blessed me so much throughout my years to get here,” Lyons said. “I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to run here [at Guyer], be a [Division I] sprinter and go to college and continue doing what I love.”
Lyons was initially approached by the Tulsa staff back in the fall. Then, around the time of the Class 4A Region I meet in April, Golden Hurricane coaches told Lyons she had a special opportunity after another athlete was ruled ineligible and some money was freed up.
What resulted was a package Lyons couldn’t refuse that gave her a 100 percent scholarship — 83 percent of which was athletic, a rarity for track and field.
That coupled with Lyons’ decision to opt for a smaller school environment made her decision to sign with Tulsa, which has just 3,428 undergraduates, an easy one.
“I think along the way I kind of switched what I wanted,” Lyons said. “I thought I wanted a big school, but then decided I didn’t want to just be a number, so I thought this was the place for me. They got me a package to where I don’t have to pay for anything, and they have a law school. So it all worked out.”
Lyons has been a track athlete at Guyer for all four years but only two years under current head coach Megan Hardesty. Hardesty said she’s been blessed by the veteran presence of Lyons and teammate Leanne Bell, who has also garnered interest from Tulsa.
“She’s a leader and great in the classroom, so she’s a good role model for the younger kids,” Hardesty said. “She’s taken some of our young freshmen and taken them under her wing. Hopefully that gives them some confidence to step up in the coming years.
“I made sure to get all my young off-season girls to come see this [Friday’s signing ceremony] because I want them to want that to be them one day. Hopefully, seeing that success actually paying off will motivate them. To have 100 percent of your college paid for is pretty amazing. Fifty percent for track is great. Hopefully they’ll want to be her one day.”
Luckily for Hardesty, just because Lyons’ days at Guyer are finished, she’s not finished with her leadership role in the program.
“Guyer has a lot of really amazing sprinters, and if they want to go to college, everyone here has a chance if they work hard enough,” Lyons said. “This could be a yearly thing here.
“Seeing me and letting them know they can go from wherever they start and get to new heights is amazing. It’s great that people can see me do this and be inspired.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.