Going into the last 50-meter stretch of the girls' 2A 300 meter dash on Feb. 16, Marriotts Ridge junior Micah Meekins looked to have a state title within her grasp.
But the championship slowly slipped away in the final meters, and in the end Century's Kylie Davis pulled through, passing Meekins at the very end to finish in 40.77 seconds, only .02 of a second ahead.
For Meekins, who set a county-meet record in the 300 meters with a time of 41.06 on Jan. 31, it was a disappointing end to the indoor season at the 2A State Track & Field Championships at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex.
"I felt like I had it at the end. I could just hear (my coaches) calling for it at the end to go harder, but I couldn't push myself those last 10 meters," Meekins said. "It's really disappointing. I just hope that for the outdoor season I improve myself and compete for the state championship."
Meekins said the loss will motivate her even more to be able to take the state title in the spring.
"I'm not going to stop practicing," she said. "I'm going to try a lot harder to get my endurance up so this doesn't happen again."
Meekins was one of several standouts on a day where there were no state champions from Howard County in the 2A classification.
Oakland Mills junior Lauren Wood finished second (9.06) in the 55 meter hurdles at the county meet and first (9.33) in the 2A Central regional meet, but saved her best time for last.
Her best time of the postseason (8.76) proved good enough for a second-place finish, as Oakdale's Abby Stultz won the race in 8.55.
"I felt like I did good. I kind of wish I had a little more speed in between the hurdles and finishing my trail leg through and getting it down quicker, but still happy," Wood said. "I thought I actually had a chance to really take (the championship), but she got a little bit ahead of me at the end."
Like Meekins, Wood plans to use the close loss as motivation to improve on her time and win a state title.
"Oh, I want the outdoor season. I hope it's going to be mine. And I'll claim it right now that I'll get it," she said.
Marriotts Ridge senior Carly Albright, like she did at the county and regional meet, was on double-duty as she ran the two longest races of the meet — the 1,600 and 3,200 meters — in the span of about an hour.
It's two of the most draining events, but Albright managed to stay fresh enough to finish fifth in the 1,600 and fourth in the 3,200.
It's a balance, Albright said, of which race she wants to push herself in, or deciding to pace herself during both races to finish well in each.
"It's tough, because the two-mile – especially if you're not in the right mindset – is really hard," she said. "If you start off too fast in the mile, you're basically doomed. It's definitely really hard."
The toughest part, though, is deciding what you can and can't eat between the races.
"You don't know what you can eat without getting sick, but you have to do something. So I usually just sit down, drink a Gatorade and eat a sandwich," she said. "A lot of people, they cool down and stretch, but when I do that my body is like ready to stop."
Scorpions junior Brit Lang had a successful day, finishing third in the 800 and 1,600 meters.
She held her own in the first half of the 1,600, but the second half belonged to eventual champion Hayley Jackson of Patuxent, who shattered the 2A record finishing in 5:01.95 and beat Lang in the state cross country meet in the fall.
Lang finished in 5:09.16 behind Boonsboro's Meggan Grams (5:05.91).
"They ran an amazing race. Meggan really took it out really fast and I was thinking I might as well go with her and see how long I can hang. I was happy for how long I hung with her because she's an amazing runner," Lang said. "I was happy to be in the race with them and see where I compared to them."
Lang ran 2:22.41 in the 800, less than three seconds behind Oakdale's Charlotte Kowalk, to help the Oakland Mills girls' team finish sixth overall in 2A with 28.5 points. Marriotts Ridge finished 10th with 21 points.
For the boys, the Scorpions finished 19th with 12 points, while Hammond earned two points to finish 28th.