Finish Line

Lots of things end. Everything ends actually. Yesterday I had my last high school track race, it was one more lap around the track. As I sit here today just taking a step back and looking a what my team and I have accomplished this season, all I can do is smile.

As I lace up my bright yellow and pink track spikes one more time, I take a deep breath and feel relief. Knowing Ive taken my season as far as it could possibly go. Its the state meet finals in Lacrosse, WI. The top 10 teams in the whole state will compete in this 1600 meter relay. 1 hour before this we had a rain delay, my girls didn’t sulk about this, this was an advantage! We got one more hour to play the race over and over again in our head.

As we go through our dynamic warm ups, we high five each other like usual. Keep telling ourselves “It’ll be ok” “Its one minute of hell, that’s it” “We are here for a reason”. We hear 1st call for division 1 1600 meter relay. We go in as a team and check in. Annalise tells the clerk the order of race “Peebles, Gruender, Hertting, Squier”. We sit in the small white tent by the bullpen, waiting for D3 and D2 to finish their races. We get to go on the track and take off our sweats. We are lane 9, one of the outside lanes. We do dynamics down to the line. As I look up at the crowd, I see our coaches in the “nest”. I put my fingers in the hashtag symbol. This means #Compete. A saying our team says!

We then separate into runners 1,2 and 3,4. Syd and I cheer on Iris and Annalise before they line up. Everyone is in the blocks and the gun goes off. Peebles is out of the blocks fast… she’s catching up with the girl in lane 10 (Notre Dame), she hands it off to Iris. Iris stays in her lane until the cut off at the 100. As coach Busch said “beautiful cut in”.  We are now in 2nd but not by much. There are girls all around though, tenths of seconds close! Ive never seen so many girls this tight in a race before. Iris is coming into the homestretch where I am receiving the baton now. I leave right on time to get a perfect handoff. Im in 2nd place, Waukesha west is in front. The girl who runs a 54 400. Im at the 200 meter mark, 200 left and 2 girls pass me. When I’m 50 meters from the hand off. There are so many teams in all the other lanes. Its a close race. Im in the 1st lane still and I hand it to Syd. We are in 8th then, Syd passes one girl. One more to go to end up on the podium. The last 200 she passes her and closes in on the others. We got 6th, also breaking our school record by another 2 seconds with a finishing time of 3:54.69.

What a season. The school record was a 4:01… to drop 7 seconds off of it is absolutely insane. I never thought I could do it. Make it to state my senior year, be on the podium with the girls I love, and grow closer to the coaches who always believed in me. There will be no greater feeling than a coach telling you how proud he was of you this season. Telling you that you were the glue to the girls, that you made his first year of coaching one to remember. This is the season I will remember for the rest of my life. Thank you to all who helped me getting there. See you at the finish line.


#GruendersDontCry #Compete


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