LENOX -- Sometimes, teenagers should listen to their parents more often. If Amber Shove had listened to her folks, maybe her breakout freshman track and field season wouldn't have been a surprise.
"My parents told me I could be good at it, and I didn't really believe them at first," Shove said. "As I got into it a lot more, I realized I am really good at it."
Shove, who runs with Lenox but attends Lee, is one of the better sprinters in Berkshire County, and certainly one of the top performers on her Lenox track and field team.
Her freshman season was capped off by two more-than-quality performances at the Western/Central Division II track and field meet, held last May 25 at Westfield State University.
"I didn't really expect I'd be that good at it and I was just surprised," she said.
Shove finished 11th in the 100 meters and was eighth in the 200. If you took all of the graduating seniors out of the mix in both events, Shove would have been third in the 100 and fourth in the 200.
"She's surprised us since seventh grade," Lenox coach Jeanne Teasdale said. "That's when we saw that she had a lot of potential. She just kept getting better and better last year. She's just a natural. The fact that she's so fast, plus, she does four events. She loves track."
Shove also competes in the long jump and throws the discus for the Millionaires. She has also run cross country for the Wildcats.
"She's the kind of kid who says ‘Where do we need points?' " Teasdale said. "She'll just score in all four."
There is no Little League for track and field and no youth cross country running leagues around, so self-motivation is necessary.
"It is really hard to get into it. If you don't really feel like you belong in sports, you can find different things to do," she said. "It is hard. You have to get in shape and go through a lot of training."
Training is important, but so is Shove's fast-twitch muscle movement, which has helped the sophomore in the sprints.
"That's what she's got to her advantage, especially in the horizontal jumps," said Teasdale.
Teasdale said it isn't always easy to groom a runner to do what Shove has done.
"Somebody has to come in with some potential. If they don't, they can get so far with that and not really get to the next level," she said. "It's funny, because Amber did cross country at Lee in the fall.
"The difference between slow-twitch and fast-twitch [muscles], she has to convert it for this season."
Shove used to play soccer, but that's in the past. Now, she's all about the running and all about the Lenox track team.
"I belong in track," she said. "That's where I want to be."
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