YUKON – In the end, Michaela Werner’s only real competition on Friday was the record book.
Taking command on the first lap of the girls’ 3200-meter run at the 5A state track championships at Yukon High School, Werner led the field by 80 meters after three of the eight laps. The Grove junior then set her sights the 26-year old meet record in the event.
With her dad, Mickey, calling out her time on each lap, Werner found a second gear with less than two laps to go, shattering the state meet record that had stood since 1986 by more than 10 seconds. Werner’s time of 11:16.75 is also a school and personal record.
“It feels pretty good [to be a state champion]. It feels better to break the record though,” Werner said. “The first time I broke 11:20, that’s when I had the goal in my head.”
Werner was something of a surprise winner in the event last season, setting a personal best on a rainy afternoon in Yukon of 11:38 to narrowly get the win.
This time, on a sunny and mild evening, there was no suspense, with Werner beating Tahlequah’s Jessica Hembree by 36 seconds. It’s not that Werner means to take all the drama out of her races, it just so happens that her pace is that much faster than everyone else’s.
“My dad was calling out my times on every lap,” Werner said. “I try to stay within 10 seconds of my [goal] time.”
Now that she’s won two state championships, what will Werner’s next goal be?
“To win a third and break 11 minutes.”
Werner’s win capped a productive day for the Lady Ridgerunners, who finished Friday’s competition with 39 points, giving them a 13-point lead over Shawnee. Juniors Emilee Iverson and Braleigh Bechtol won titles in the high jump and pole vault, respectively, while Lily Jeffries also finished fourth in the pole vault.