EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Charles Pollard has been coaching track at East Lansing High School for 45 years, meaning he knows how to spot true talent. When he was given the chance to coach junior Comari Hawkins this year, he knew right away she was special.
“The term I like to use is that, she is the real deal. This girl can flat out run,” Pollard said.
After spending her first two years of high school at Grand Blanc, Hawkins has been full-steam ahead in her first year at East Lansing.
“The team has been very welcoming and it has been really nice to have another track family,” Hawkins said.
It didn’t take long for Hawkins to leave her mark within the Trojans’ program. In her first-ever meet for East Lansing, she broke the school record for the 100-yard-dash, with a time of 12.09.
Last week, at the regional meet, Hawkins captured first place in the 200-meter-dash with a time of 24.05, helping the Trojans claim the regional title.
“She hasn’t really tapped her full capacity yet,” Pollard said. “I think she is really going to be tested at the state meet, and she will probably rise to the occasion. She is really good. I’m expecting really big things at the state meet.”
The reason Hawkins moved to East Lansing last year was that her dad -former Michigan State and NFL wide receiver – Courtney Hawkins was hired as the wide receivers coach at MSU.
“He thinks he’s faster than me, so I always have to make sure I work to beat him and he just makes it so I have something to reach for – so that I can live up to the Hawkins name, “Comari Hawkins said.
“She works like a son-of-a-gun,” Courtney Hawkins said. “Whether it’s cold outside, rainy, she works. I’m super proud of her. Right now, it’s fun to be a dad, fun to be the number one fan.”
So, it’s no secret where Comari gets her speed, but it’s her work ethic that separates her from the rest of the pack.
“Being self-discipline and pushing myself even though COVID, during the whole quarantine when nobody was going outside,” Comari said. “I was making sure I worked out every day, sometimes twice a day.”
“As a little kid, she just ran around the house. She wouldn’t walk anywhere” Courtney said. “We were like ‘look, we have to get this energy out.’ So we put her on the track team and got her out there and found out, you know what, she might run a little bit. She was a little faster than the other kids at that point, and from there she just fell in love.”
Due to COVID-19, Comari has been going remote all school year and has yet to step foot into East Lansing High School, making it difficult for her to meet her classmates and teammates, but as soon as she showed up to her first Trojan practice everyone on the team knew she was the real deal.
“She’s gotten out and she has gotten to know a lot of the kids, and they have welcomed her with open arms,” Pollard said.
“I haven’t really had a chance to make many friends, but I do feel like the girls on the track team are my friends, and that they’ve made East Lansing feel more like home,” Comari said.