State Meet: Athletes\' Views

Samantha Colburn
Friday, 4x800
Making it to state this year was very exciting. Just the atmosphere seemed different knowing it was State. I was very nervous coming into it, even though at that time our 4x800 team was ranked third. I knew this was one of my last races of the season, and I wanted to make the most of it, and leave absolutely nothing on the track when I got done racing. When all the girls were down in the fence area clerking in, I started to get more nervous about the race, but I just thought over and over in my head how I was going to run it. When we all lined up the track and walked down to the starting line, it kind of felt like the walk of death how quiet everyone was. Running first leg, I knew I had to get a good lead for our girls. When each girl was put in their lane, and the gun went off, all of my feelings just disappeared. I ran one of the fastest 800\'s that I\'ve ever run. I\'m not sure what my split was, but I am pretty darn sure it was great. I felt great the whole race. Only at the last 150m did my legs feel like jello. I ended up coming in third for my leg, following JL Mann and Daniel. I watched most of my other teammates running, but I was so nervous at the same time for us, so I also watched the grass. My teammate Kristen Thomas, who ran second leg, stood with me while the other girls ran. We ended up coming in fourth for state, which was still good. We broke our school record, which we had broken that week before for the State Qualifier. We ran a 10:22. It\'s a great feeling knowing that we are Clover\'s first girls to ever make it to state for the 4x800, and hopefully our record will stay there for a while.

Saturday, 1600m
Knowing that I made state for an individual event was a big deal for me. I knew that that meant I was in the top eight elite runners of South Carolina for 3A. At State Qualifier, I honestly didn\'t think that I was going to make it for the mile, I actually wanted to get in for the 800. But when I found out I got in for the mile, I almost cried I was so excited. When I got there Saturday morning, I was a little nervous, not as much as I was for the 4x800 though. While I waited, I watched some of the other races go on. It\'s very interesting to see the time difference between the 3A runners and 4A runners. I warmed up around 9:25, with 4x800 teammate Kristen Thomas there by my side so I wouldn\'t be alone. When I got down to the clerking area, I got a little more nervous, but also excited that I was actually getting to run the 1600 at state. When the race started, the pack was together for a bit. Then we gradually started pulling away from each other. I wasn\'t ranked number one coming into this race, but even though I was ranked number seven wasn\'t bad for me. I just tried to stay with the girls around me, trying to pace with them. It was a very hard race to do; very fast. In this race, I didn\'t feel as great as I did in the 4x800 Friday. But I wasn\'t going to let all that stop me. I ended up coming in eighth, missing seventh by a second. When I crossed the finish line, the clock said 5:37, and I was so excited that I had finally gotten out of the 40\'s. But the clock was faster than what the real times where, and when I was standing up on the podium and they called my time out at 5:41, I was a little disappointed. I was still very pleased with it though at the same time, because it was my best time. Just standing up there in front of everyone is one of the best feelings you can ever have. Now people know who you are, and can see all the running that you\'ve worked so hard on all season. It\'s a really great feeling, a feeling that I won\'t ever forget. I know when I become older, I will still remember those two days at state, remember the feeling of it. I look forward to next years season, as with the up coming cross country season.
Colburn is a rising senior at Clover

Stephen Dickey
The State Championship was a lot of fun. Even though my race(800) was slower than we all we shooting for, it still turned out to be a great race. We went through the first lap too slow, like 63ish i think. So the 800 turned into a 400 meter race. The last 200 I pushed with all I had and was able to come up with fifth. Not exactly what I was shooting for but I\'ll take it, I still have next year. Over all the meet was fantastic everyone ran well. Congratulations to Kate (Niehaus) on both of her records, that was awesome to watch. Brandon ran a an awesome time in the mile and the two mile was as a good a race as suspected.
Dickey is a rising senior at TL Hanna. Dickey ran a qualifying 800 time of 1:59.95.

George Fields
I feel as a team and as individuals we performed up to our ability. We performed hard and as a group; we love the meet and how it was run off. I feel this is the best group of guys I have ever been around and in the end we are champions.
Fields, a senior finished second in the long jump at the state championships. Field has a 2005 South Carolina long jump performance best of 24-08.75, set at the Coaches Classic on March 26.

Rodney Lipscomb (James)
I personally feel this was the greatest day of my life. Running on the relays with the guys I love being around just huddling up around the baton saying a prayer before the race made our victory that much more dear to my heart. I\'ll never forget the feeling I had standing alongside our seniors on the podium when they announced our victory. I love working with these guys and wouldn\'t change this experience for the world.
Lipscomb finished second in the 200 in 21.38 and third in the 400 with a time of 48.97.

Tiffani Richardson
The meet atmosphere was incredible. The weather was absolutely perfect. Being a senior, I was so nervous that I broke down in tears right before the 100m hurdles. The whole atmosphere and thoughts of being at my very last high school track meet just got to me. In the 400m Hurdles, I finished where I expected to finish, second. I\'m satisfied, but it\'s bitter-sweet. You never go into a race wanting anything less than first, but I ran my PR, so I have to be satisfied with that for now. The hurdle girls this year were excellent competitors, not only in the race, but for the most part everyone was so friendly, and I loved being able to sit down and talk with a couple of girls after our races. It feels a lot different to be the \'big man\' on the track. I was talking with a couple of sophomores who were glad Chidi (Walsh) and I are graduating, which makes me sad, but It was cool to be a role model and to be able to give the girls tips and just be able to talk about the race. It felt a lot more relaxed when we all started talking, and some of us are even going to run together in the summer. State has been the most wonderful experience for me. My first experience with state was my freshman year (I placed fifth in the 400m Hurdles), and I was just glad to be there. That feeling is still there, but as the years progressed I became more and more competitive, but looking back I realize that it is an amazing accomplisment to be a runner in the State Championships. It is an experience I will never forget.
Richardson will attend Anderson College in August.

Christine Saja
From an athlete\'s viewpoint.. Interesting. Broome\'s a pretty laidback team, we encourage each other and yell for each other and everything, but getting to the meet and warming up varies with the athlete. I know Markish and Gavin listen to music a lot on the way there and until warmups like I do, but mainly it\'s a lot of stretching and just getting focused. We\'re not an extremly big team, the girls placing five athletes at the meet and the boys 11, I think, so we can\'t get out there like a Spartanburg High and make noise. We just make our noise with our times and marks (not to insult SHS, just an example).

From my viewpoint, I try to focus on how the team\'s doing at the meet, watching the races for Broome runners, keeping a running points tally in my head. I\'ll always yell an encouraging word to the runners, but being careful not to disrupt any other throwers, I\'ll get really close to the track edge and just talk to them as they go past if I have to. I focus on my events, but for me it\'s better to keep my head clear and then when I\'m on deck to just get it going in my head that I\'m gonna bust one out there. It\'s always a mental thing for throwers usually. But that\'s just some basic stuff about the team and meet. About the future, I expect Broome\'s success to continue. We\'re a strong team, and the talent just keeps coming, so I hope the boys could try to repeat the title next year. The boys are only losing Gavin and Jermaine from the state qualifiers, but I\'m sure they\'ll be fine.
Saja is a rising senior at Broome. Saja finished first in the discus and third in the shot put at the State Championships.

Andrew Valence
The state meet for me was quite like a normal meet, besides the fact that everybody is mostly at the same skill level, it\'s all a fight to see who wants it more. In my case, I wanted it pretty bad but I was more concerned with getting it done and over with. The other vaulters were much more competitive than I. Everyone had a great attitude though, nobody was putting each other down, we were actually all cheering for each other even though deep down we were thinking of who was left and what place it would put us in if this person were to go out at that height. No, we all wanted the gold, but it was a fight against ourselves.

TL Hanna did great though, we had four guys and one girl make it to state. Our high jumper (Kenneth Ford) won first place, hurdler (Antoine Fant) got second in the 100 and 400, distance got fifth, guys pole vault (me) got fifth, and girls pole vault (Sarah Mears) tied for fourth. In my eyes TL Hanna had its best turnout in a good many years.
Valence, a senior at TL Hanna finished fifth in the pole vault with a best height of 13-00.00.