By Jeremy McDonald
EUGENE, Ore.– Gervais hasn’t had a State Placer in a few years when Katie Hanson lined up in her blocks for the 400 meter dash Friday afternoon at Hayward Field.
It was a warm day in Eugene and the heat was radiating off the track as they took their marks and went off for the race. By the 200 meter mark, the freshman sat fourth in the race coming down the straightaway before fatigue sank in as Hanson finished sixth in the race with a time of 1:01.80.
But hey, for her second 400 meter race at this magnitude of a meet, it’s a good start for Hanson entering her sophomore year.
“It felt really good because when I crossed the line yeah, ‘Yeah, I did it. I didn’t finish last in the final’ even though I was super happy to get to the finals,” said Hanson. “I want to work on my starts, I want to have stronger starts and want to have a little more stamina so I can sprint it more the whole instead of having to tame it down a little bit at the starts so I won’t be dying at the end.”
Hanson also was part of the 4×100 meter relay team that competed earlier in the day of the 3A State Meet and nerves were there as Hanson was the only member of the 4×1 team that had any State experience with the Preliminary 400 meter race the day before as they walked out to their marks.
“There was plenty of nerves out there,” laughed Judith Santos about lining up and racing in the race. “It felt exciting, but also like rough-taking.”
Ashley Vallejo started the race for the Four Freshman of Gervais, exploding out in what she called her best start of the year.
“I think I had my best start of the year of the first leg,” said Vallejo of the start as she handed off to Hanson.
There was some commotion in turn three where Hanson handed off to Santos as eventually it was deemed that two teams were disqualified around the Lady Cats as they had a brief hand-off issue in the second corner of the track before Santos handed off to Mary Davidson to finish off the 55.
“It was a really exciting experience and we came out there thinking, ‘Alright we have everything to prove, nothing to lose and let’s go out there and run our hearts out’. It was fun.
As this 4×100 meter relay interview was going on with myself and the four girls of the relay team, teammate Lilly Welburn was walking around the group, taking pictures of the girls being interviewed like she was paparazzi with the question eventually being asked about her of:
‘How awkward is it that Lilly is floating around taking pictures’ to this exchange:
“Oh I’m pretty cool, I don’t know what you mean,” said Welburn, trying to shake it off.
“I’m really hoping she’s taking good pictures,” said Davidson with a smile and a laugh.