Track State Championship
The pit of my stomach felt as if it was being eaten away by gnawing insects inside. It wasn't just the ordinary butterflies but evil-biting insects. I was standing impatiently on the track quickly sliding further toward the inside as the incoming runner completed her handoff. Screaming encouragements, I waited for Rachel to make her way down the last stretch. We successfully completed our exchange of the baton and I was off.
We arrived at Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo, Colorado our normal two hours early on a dark, rainy Friday morning. Our team carried in the large tarp, blue tent, coolers full of energy food and many cases of water to keep us hydrated throughout the day. The sight of the enormous red rubber track brought that familiar tingle to my stomach. "It's the same size as any other track, but we just run the opposite direction," I heard Coach Dirst joke with the always gullible Erin.
Shortly after we set up camp, I heard the familiar words, "Get out of here!" come from Coach Dirst. Our team made our way down the mountain of unevenly spaced, concrete stairs to the track. After doing our routine warm-up of a two-lap jog, stretches and form running, the team scattered, some preparing for their event, others just hoping to catch a few more zs. As I was making my way back to camp, I noticed everyone's red stained t-shirts and sweatshirts from stretching on the damp track, not realizing those stains would in time become memories I'd never forget.
The day of prelims jumped off to a great start. The medley relay qualified for finals, and Kendal became a two-time state champion in high jump capturing the team's first ten points. The rest of the day went just as well. After placing fourth and shattering a school record in the two-mile, Erin immediately turned around and ran the first leg in our 4x400 relay. Her only sign of exhaustion was the shaky hand-off between her and Rachel. It was smooth sailing from there. Rachel handed off to me, and I ran my fastest split ever ignoring my flipping stomach. I reached Teresa, who then ran the last leg as strong as ever. We went into finals with the fastest time and the best lane, 4, and finished the day on a high note.
The next morning, we woke up to a warm sunny Saturday, all of us knowing exactly what we had to do. Once again, we arrived our normal two hours early, but the mood was a little more tense; today was finals. The morning looked as if it was going to be very promising. First up was the medley relay, which was ready and rarin' to go. Kayla was ready in her blocks, "on your mark, set…" and the gun went off. Quickly making her way around the corner, she appeared to be running faster than normal, which made Erin take off a little faster but still expecting a smooth hand-off. Unfortunately, Erin ran outside the exchange zone before getting the baton disqualifying our hopeful top finishing medley relay. The five points we hoped on receiving quickly...