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Jumping for joy: Tecumseh hurdler chases down school record

With a nearly flawless sprint around the track in the 300-meter hurdles, Tecumseh High School senior Katie Herdman finally ran down the school record she’d been chasing for 3 1/2 years.

But before the celebration at the Clark County Track and Field Championships there was compassion. Herdman, leading the race from the start in lane four, heard friendly rival Alyssa Garberich of Shawnee stumble over her final hurdle and crash to the ground in lane three.

Along with the trainers and officials, Herdman surrounded Garberich to comfort her. Then, as Garberich was being assisted, Herdman consoled upset Shawnee teammate Kyla Driskill, who also ran the 300 hurdles.

“I got very upset. It’s me and (Garberich) normally first and second,” Herdman said. “When I heard her fall it got to me.”

Garberich was removed from the Springfield High School track on a stretcher and transported to the hospital as a precaution.

Once she knew Garberich was going to be OK, Herdman finally let her smile show. She had been close to the school record of 49.0 the past two meets, including a 49.02. Friday, she ripped off a 48.5.

“I was very surprised. I could hear Alyssa in lane three behind me and I wasn’t going to let her catch me,” Herdman said. “It felt faster, but not a school record. I saw the time coming across the line, and I turned around to see if Alyssa was OK.”

Herdman also edged Garberich — who would have finished second in the 300s — in the 100 hurdles. Herdman finished in 16.53 to Garberich’s 17.25.

“I wasn’t expecting to win the 300s because I have a lot of tough competition,” Herdman said. “I could hear my parents and my teammates cheering me on from the side. They gave me the energy to keep going.”

Springfield senior Ronnie Walker established himself as the fastest runner in Clark County after sweeping the 100 and 200 dashes. Walker’s 11.28 beat out Northwestern’s Andy Elliott (11.71) in the 100. His 22.86 in the 200 topped teammate Saalih Muhammad (23.49).

“It’s what I’ve been waiting for,” Walker said after winning the 100. “I want to win the MVP.”

Walker added a third Clark County title with his victory in the long jump (20 feet, 10 inches).

Kenton Ridge freshman Jamari McDavid claimed the girls 100 in 12.76, edging sophomore teammate Iman Salhieh (12.96). Salhieh later won the 200 (26.38).

In the girls 400, event newcomer Brittany Kozak established herself as a runner to beat with her first victory in the event. Kozak, normally an 800 runner, was added to the 400 as a substitute. Kozak won in 1:01.53.

“This is more of a dead sprint the entire time,” said Kozak, who is used to pacing herself for two laps around the track and not a full-out sprint for one lap. “I completely lost feeling (in my legs) the last 100 meters. Just jello. … I turned the corner and my teammate was next to me so it felt really good.”

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