An exhausted Meredith Kiekintveld lay motionless on the Mesa Community College track.
The Payson High senior had given everything she had for 300 meters in an effort to capture another state championship in the long hurdles race.
Last year, she won it in 45.89 seconds, finishing just 5/100ths of a second ahead of runner-up Hannah DeVore of Cottonwood Mingus.
She topped that time on Saturday, completing the event in 45.87. But Kiekintveld experienced the same pain that DeVore endured a year earlier as Flagstaff Coconino’s Woodlyn Smith edged her out for first. Smith leaned forward to cross in 45.86, just 1/100th of a second ahead of Kiekintveld. The Coconino senior fell to the track just before Kiekintveld hit the surface.
Both athletes were completely exhausted.
After a few seconds, they rose to their feet and looked at the scoreboard and waited for officials to check the video to determine the winner.
After a couple of minutes, they confirmed that Smith had indeed won by the slimmest margin possible.
Kiekintveld managed a smile from the No. 2 spot on the podium, but she was clearly disappointed. She’d put everything she had into ending her prep career on a high note. And when you’re the defending state champion, that means winning again.
But she can hold her head high.
She also finished fourth in the 100 hurdles and ran the third leg on the fourth-place 4x100 relay. It’s the second consecutive year that she’s claimed three medals in the state meet.
She finishes with eight medals in the state meet over her four-year career, including four in the 100 hurdles. She took fourth as a freshman, second as a sophomore and third as a junior.
Brock Davis also finished second in the 110-meter hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles. He was just a half-second back of the winner in the 110 hurdles. He too can be proud of what he accomplished.
And what about Savanna White?
She finished third in the discus, fourth in the shot put and ran the second leg on the fourth-place 4x100 relay. You don’t see many standout throwers run on a medal-winning sprint relay. It’s a rare feat. White also finished fourth in the shot put as a junior in her first year as a thrower.
Congratulations also to Hannah Goldman and MaKenzie Brade, who ran with White and Kiekintveld on the 4x100 relay, as well as to Luis Diaz, who placed fourth in the boys discus.