Just moments after her 400-meter prelim Friday evening, Molly Sughroue told one of her coaches that she felt like someone was on her heels throughout.
His response may most accurately describe Sughroue’s ability on the track.
“No one was close,” McCook assistant Brent May told the standout junior.
Sughroue got a good start to her third state track meet Friday at Burke Stadium. But the heavy lifting remains.
Sughroue will run in three events during Saturday’s finals, trying to build on a pair of successful state meets. After getting medals on two relays as a freshman, Sughroue won gold in the 800 last year. She also took home the 2012 Class B title in the 400 meters.
On Saturday, she’ll run in the finals of the 400 and 800 and then be a part of the 1,600-meter relay.
“I’ll probably go to bed really early tonight,” Sughroue said with a laugh after Friday’s 400 prelims.
Her day will begin with the 9:30 a.m. finals in the 800. Sughroue said she actually prefers the early-morning events.
“I don’t really like afternoon session,” she said. “It’s a lot of waiting. I like running the first event because it helps me get the full feel of the track and it’s nice and quiet at first. It helps me focus.”
Sughroue added the 200 to her agenda, but missed out on Saturday’s finals by one spot after Friday’s qualifying. It was just the fourth time she’s ever run the event in a meet, including a runner-up finish at districts.
Day said it’s an event that Sughroue is naturally talented in.
“She wanted that fourth event,” May said. “She’s a competitor. She doesn’t like to get beat.”
But Sughroue said she’s learned from her trips to state that running relaxed is the key. As a freshman, she admitted, the stage got to her. Last year, Sughroue said, she had a lot more fun.
“You can’t overthink things,” she said. “I do feel a lot of pressure. There’s kind of a target on your back. But you have to just not pay attention to it and do what you’re capable of and you should be fine.”
Sughroue entered Friday first in the state in the 400, first in Class B in the 800 and part of a class-leading 1,600 relay team.
Add it all up and there’s a pretty good chance she heads back to McCook with a couple of more medals for her collection.
“I think the most important thing for her is to just do what she can do,” May said. “Just go out and run and that’s all you have to do. She’s learned a lot here through the years. Hopefully she can sit back and appreciate what she’s doing a little bit.”
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