New Albany High School senior Taneisha Cordell tried other sports but found her calling on the track.

New Albany High School senior Taneisha Cordell tried other sports but found her calling on the track.

On April 25, she signed a letter of intent to continue her track career at the University of Miami (Fla.).

"I've been running since I was 9, but when I started I really wasn't that good," Cordell said after helping the Eagles girls track and field team finish fourth (90.5 points) behind champion Dublin Coffman (177) in the Westerville South Wildcat Invitational on April 21. "I started off playing basketball. In middle school all that hard work (in track) paid off and finally started showing."

Cordell is one of the leaders of a young New Albany team. At the Wildcat Invitational, she won the 400 meters (56.33 seconds) and helped the 3,200 relay win in 9:37.91.

Two days earlier, she helped New Albany win the 3,200 relay (10:00.8) and the 800 relay (1:49.02) as the Eagles lost to Big Walnut 74-54 in a dual meet.

She also competed in the 1,600 as coach Otis Winston has tried to work more endurance into her training regimen. He believes it will better prepare her to win another state title in the 800.

As a sophomore at Reynoldsburg in 2009, Cordell won the Division I state title in the 800 (2:10.79) and helped the Raiders win the state title in the 1,600 relay (meet-record 3:43.83). She was a big reason Reynoldsburg won the state title, scoring 83 points to outdistance Cincinnati Withrow (35).

After the season, she transferred to New Albany, where a successful season ended in disappointment at state as Cordell was tripped during the final 150 meters of the 800 final. She didn't finish the race.

"I was a three-time state champion and we were trying to make her a three-time state champion," said Winston, who won three state titles in the high jump and a state title in the long jump while at Toronto. "It didn't go that way, so I felt like I failed because I put her in a lot of speed things last year. The way I took it, if I had trained her with a little bit more endurance, she wouldn't have been in the position for somebody to trip her. I learned and she learned."

Coach and runner have bonded over that experience and trained throughout last summer and into the indoor season over the winter. Her 800 time of 2:10.15 during the indoor season was the eighth fastest in the country, according to the rankings.

Last year's 800 state race has become a motivating factor for this season.

"I want it so bad," Cordell said of winning another state title. "It's been a lot of (disappointment) the past two years. I want it for myself most of all. Almost every day I think about (what happened)."

Cordell's success in track started early. She competed unattached in the Ohio Middle School state championships in 2007, setting a meet record of 2:19.31 in the 800.

When she reached high school the following year, she became a key member of a strong team at Reynoldsburg. As a freshman, she helped Reynoldsburg finish as the state runner-up behind Cleveland Heights Beaumont. Cordell was fourth in the 800 (2:13.94) and helped the 3,200 relay finish second (9:22.58), the 800 relay finish third (1:40.31) and the 1,600 relay finish eighth (3:55.72).

After having such a successful high school career, Winston said the best part about Cordell going to Miami will be the competition she'll see each day.

"She's not being pushed in high school the way she could be pushed," Winston said. "At Miami, she's going to see girls just as fast as her day in and day out at practice."