Words: Shawn Kruhm
Photos contributed by: Kirsten Wikner
Centennial girls track and field ended a successful winter season in the best way possible: seniors Claudia Pilcher and Kirsten Wikner, and juniors Cora Blount and Alison Betler won the 4×800 meter relay state title. This marks the first time in Centennial history that a girls indoor track and field team won the 4×800 meter relay at the state level.
The four girls started their record-breaking run in counties where they won the 4×800 relay. They moved up to the next level and competed at regionals, where they won the 4×800 relay in record time, finishing the race with a time of 9:53, the quickest 4×800 time in Centennial history, for both indoor and outdoor track and field.
Pilcher, Wikner, Blount, and Betler then took their talents to the track and field state championship. Pilcher began the race, followed by Wikner, Blount, and Betler. It was a tough race, but the girls fought through it and came out on top, finishing with a time of 9:59.
“We had a pretty big lead in the beginning of the race but at times it was close and there was a lot of really good other teams,” said Pilcher. “I knew that Alison, Cora and Kirsten are all incredible runners and as soon as Alison pulled ahead in the last 2 laps, we realized we were about to win states.”
The girls have created a special bond and will remember their journey forever. They had so much support from each other as well as family and friends attending the event.
“Crossing the line in first place was an unbelievable feeling. M
y teammates did a great job of positioning us in the lead so all I had to do was maintain that. I had a lot of people cheering me on which really motivated me to make my move into first,” said Betler. “Winning a state title is something that every runner dreams of, so being able to make that dream into a reality was incredible and definitely a moment I’ll never forget.”
Wikner added, “It is very special to win a state title especially since it was with this relay team. I’m so happy we could win it together.”
While they all have tremendous talent and drive, the girls acknowledged their coach, Kevin Mccoy, for playing a huge role in their success.
“I always knew Coach McCoy was standing on the sidelines for each race, cheering us on and pushing me to go 110% every time,” said Pilcher.
“It was like a rush of happiness,” said Blount. “I cried because I was so happy that all our hard work paid off.”
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From left: Wikner, Blount, Pilcher, and Betler after state run.