As Belleville East senior Miya Dorsey crossed the finish line in the final of the Class 3A 300-meter hurdles on Saturday at the girls state track and field meet at O’Brien Stadium, several things were through her mind.
And tears filled her eyes.
Continuing to show a flare for the dramatic, Dorsey built a lead then held off a late charge from (Oak Park) Fenwick junior Grace Cronin as she won the state championship.
“There were a lot of things going on. I got off to a good start and then coming down the straightaway here, I went from thinking I was going to win the race to wondering if I would be able to hold on,” Dorsey said. “When I went across the finish line I almost cried. It was a combination of pure happiness and relief.
“I’ve wanted and worked so hard for this. It means a lot.”
Dorsey, whose time of 42.94 seconds was just ahead of Cronin’s time of 42.95, was one of three Southwestern Conference standouts who won championships during the final day of competition at the 2015 state finals.
East St. Louis senior Aaliah Herron captured the shot put championship, while Alton junior LaJarvia Brown successfully defended her title in the triple jump.
Herron, who will attend Southeast Missouri State University, ended her high school career in glory as she secured the title with a throw of 43-feet, 1-inch. The toss was just ahead of runner-up Olivia Griswold, of (Naperville) Nequa Valley, who got off a heave 42-5 3/4.
The state crown is the second for Herron, who won the shot put title while in junior high five years ago.
“It’s a similar feeling. Some of the girls who were here today were also ones I competed against when I was in the eighth grade,” Herron said. “This is a great way for me to end my high school career. All the hard work and all the practice over the last four years ... it’s worth it for a moment like this.”
Brown, who was sixth in the long jump and fifth in the 300 hurdles, is one of the nation’s top triple jumpers Her winning leap covered 41-2.
Dorsey also placed seventh in the 100 hurdles, while East teammate Tamar Mosby cleared 5-5 to take seventh in the high jump.
The Belleville West Maroons sent retiring coach Paul James out with a medal-winning weekend. The Maroons placed eigthh in the 400 relay.
The O’Fallon Panthers also had a good Saturday as their 400 relay placed third and their 800 relay came within a whisker of the state title, placing second in a school-record time of 1:40.23 seconds. Oak Park River Forest won the championship in 1:39.39.
The Panther’s time of 47.68 seconds in the 400 relay also set a record in Friday’s prelims.
“We’re very proud of of both teams. I believe this is the fourth year in a row where we have had two relay teams place,” O’Fallon coach Neil James said. “And to think that they are sophomores, makes it even more impressive.
“A lot of times kids come up her (the state finals) the first time and are in awe of everything. This kids weren’t. They handled themselves very well.”
Freeburg closed out the list of metro-east medal-winning relay, taking seventh in the Class 2A 3,200 relay.
In Class 1A, Red Bud junior Keri Burmester led the way with a sixth-place finish in the 3,200 and a ninth in the 1,600.
Althoff senior Grace Rowan also ended her career on a positive note. One of the top distance runners in school history, Rowan ran a 2:21.61 to place seventh in the 800.
“It was a good race and yes, the pace of it was the way I wanted it early. I just wish it would have stayed that way,” Rowan said. “But to be able to win a state medal in my last high school race, I can’t think of a better way to do it.”
Lebanon sophomore Casey Berberich became the Greyhounds first medal winner in over two decades, taking fourth in the long jump.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.