The Cambridge Track & Field team, and the Lady Bears in particular, set records and brought home more medals than ever before at the end of season state championships in Carrollton from Thursday, May 9 through Saturday, May 11. The Lady Bears came home as the 6A state runners-up, finishing just 2.5 points behind first place. In addition, we had one individual state champion, two silver medals, three bronze medals, and broke six school records.
All three field event participants achieved podium spots on Thursday afternoon. Senior Connor McDaniel tied his personal best height in the high jump at 6'2" to earn 7th place in his final meet of his high school career. Just starting out in the pole vault, freshman Liv Bollenbacher cleared 10', and then had a jump off with four other athletes to earn 6th place and 2.5 points. Junior, and female track athlete of the year, Ryan Jackson, jumped a personal best of 18'3.5" to garner the 6th place medal and 3 points.
The only running event on Thursday was the final in the 1600m, which was delayed due to weather. Junior Ashley Sechrest led through a rainy seven laps, but finished in 3rd place for six points, while Clarissa Beck had an off day and finished in 15th. Senior and the male track athlete of the year, Jack Filan, ran for runner-up honors in the boys' 1600m, finishing in a time of 4:18, just shy of his personal best.
The weather held off on Friday, and the sprinting, hurdles and 800m completed the prelims, narrowing the field from 16 down to 8 in each event. The 4x100m team of Quiniche Peets('19), Ryan Jackson('20), Kathryn Suplee('21) and Grace Wolf('20) just missed qualifying for the final with a 9th place finish in 48.15 seconds, a new school record. They were fourth in their heat but edged out of 8th by 0.1 seconds. In the 400m prelim, Kathryn Suplee finished in 14th well off her PR and school record of 58.33 seconds, but her speed would prove vital in the 4x400 later in the day. Michaela Prevallet ('20) then won her heat in the 100mH in a time of 14.74 seconds for a new school record to qualify for Saturday's final. The next race was the 800m, and senior Delaney Goodell ('19) raced to a fourth place finish in her heat and seventh fastest time to pass through to the finals, as well. Next up was Ryan Jackson in the 200m, who also qualified for the finals with a 24.70 second school record and 7th best time of the afternoon. In the 300m hurdles, both Grace Wolf and senior Taya Jackson made the cut for final on Saturday, finishing in 2nd and 3rd in their heat, and 3rd and 5th for qualifying times. The final prelim on Friday was the 4x400m relay. The team of Grace Wolf, Taya Jackson, Kathryn Suplee, and Ryan Jackson finished in 4 minutes flat to make the cut for the final.
In addition to the prelims, which narrow the field down to 8 runners, the distance races just have the final 16 runners compete in one race. The 3200m final was held Friday at 5pm, and compared to the cooler, rainy conditions from the 1600m race the night before, it was hot and humid when the starting gun went off. Class of '18 alums Lily Elston, Chloe Paskins and Chloe Phelps, with the former two having been on the podium last May, came to cheer on the Bears. In the girls' race, Ashley Sechrest held back and let others set the pace for the first six laps before moving into the lead and winning the race in an elite performance time of 5:12, for Cambridge's first individual state champion on the track. Clarissa Beck had an incredible finish to her fourth year on the team, and final race of the season, finishing in 5th place. The two girls increased the bears' point total by 14 points in this one event. Jack Filan had another great race as well, again leading for most of the race, but could not hold onto the lead in the last lap, finishing with a bronze medal. Both Ashley and Jack will compete in the 3200m races at the Meet of Champions on Friday, May 17.
The weather for Saturday looked ominous with thunderstorms in the forecast expected to begin around noon; in Carrollton, the same time that the first starting gun was set to go off. That didn't deter the fans, and teammates Evan Bell, Jack McHale, and Quiniche Peets came to lend their support. The storms passed through much further south, fortunately, and the Lady Bears first race was the 100m hurdles just after 1:40pm. Michaela Prevallet cleared the hurdles in record time for a silver medal, surpassing her time from the prelims to set the new school record in 14.44 seconds, shaving 0.3 seconds off her time from the day before.
After the 100m hurdles, Delaney Goodell finished in 8th place in the 800m and Ryan Jackson finished in 24.92 seconds for 7th place in the 200m. This was only the 2nd time Ryan broke 25 seconds, the first being the day before. In the 300m hurdles, Grace Wolf set a new school record for third place, edged out of second by 0.01 seconds, finishing in 44.61 seconds. Taya Jackson finished in 8th place, but her 1 point was still critical to the girls' team score. The final race of the day was the 4x400m, and the girls raced to another school record, finishing in 3:59.09 and earning fifth place, for the final four points toward the team total.
Last year, the Lady Bears finished in 6th place overall in 6A, with points in the distance races, pole vault, and 300m hurdles. This year, they finished as state runner-up in 6A, and had points in the pole vault, long jump, 1600m, 100m hurdles, 800m, 200m, 300m hurdles and the 4x400m. The progress shows that the hard work and dedication, as well as the ever supportive coaches that keep them motivated and ready to compete, is paying off!
Thank you for a great season, and with just four seniors graduating, we wish them the best, and look forward to what you can do next year!