Sometimes winning the first time around isn't always the best for athletes. Falling short of a goal by a few seconds or points can motivate one to push that much further, to work that much harder. Such was the case for four Downingtown East runners, who can now bask in the light of their recent success.
East Seniors Sami Keenan, Amanda Egan, Kathryn Shannon, and sophomore Marie Thompson recently finished sixth in the Medley Relay at the Nike Indoor Nationals in Landover, Md. with a time of 4:15. For the girls, standing on the podium with their medals in tow, was just reward after falling just shy of medaling last year with a 10th place finish.
"Ever since you get to high school you dream about medaling at nationals," Egan said. "It's a dream come true for all of us because we worked so hard."
The race at nationals was actually the first time the girls ran as a team this year in a meet, which makes it an even better feat for them to accomplish.
"Our relay couldn't have been more perfect, our handoffs were amazing" Thompson said. "Handoffs are important, they can raise or lower your splits by tenths of a second."
The medley relay consists of two 200-meter legs, one 400-meter leg and is finished with the 800-meter run. Keenan ran the first 200, followed by Egan in the second 200, Shannon ran the 400, and Thompson was the anchor, running the 800.
Each of the girls was thrilled with the outcome of their hard work and dedication this season.
"We all worked really hard this season and it's nice for it to culminate into something so great," Shannon said.
While they are excited about the medals, it wasn't something any of the girls was expecting to happen.
"It's really unexpected. We were all in the stands holding hands and taking down everyone's splits," Egan said. "We ran in the first heat, the slowest heat, and won by a lot."
Because they won by such a large margin, the girls felt like they weren't really challenged as much as if they had run in one of the faster heats.
"We missed fifth by less than a tenth of a second," Keenan said. "If we had run in a faster heat and were challenged more, we could have been better."
Not only did the girls capture a medal at the meet, they also attained All-American status because of it. The girls were happy to finally have something to show for all of the work they have put forth throughout their high school careers.
"People underestimate the track team and what we can do," Shannon said. "We finally did something we can be proud of."
This being their senior year, Egan, Keenan, and Shannon are able to finish the indoor season on top, which to them, is special.
"For the three of us, as seniors, it is a great way to end our senior indoor season," Egan said. "This is the best thing that could have happened to all of us this year. We are looking forward to our outdoor season."
Not only do the girls run together at East, they also formed the DE Striders club running team.
"We all run together with the DE Striders," Thompson said. "We knew we'd be good, but didn't know how good. We were a team of potential and that day we all realized our potential."