Abby Barnes, Beth Holmes, Savannah Stout and Sydney Burton
WICHITA – Setting a high school record was great but winning a state championship is something that Abby Barnes, Beth Holmes, Savannah Stout and Sydney Burton will remember for the rest of their lives.
The Abilene foursome accomplished the feat Saturday at the 2019 Kansas State High School Activities Association State Track Meet at Cessna Stadium in Wichita. Running before one of the largest crowds to witness the All-Classes meet, the runners from Abilene started off a few paces behind and sometimes boxed in along the outside of the track but each runner did their part as they rallied for the win.
Not only did they rally, but also they ran the race with a season best time of 9:53.44 to claim gold and they were the only Class 4A girl’s team to finish in under ten minutes.
Barnes shot out of the blocks to run a 1:13.233 first lap to keep the Cowgirls within the top four in the field. She then picked up a placing with a second lap of 1:16.924. Holmes ran second with a 1:11.801 sprint around the track and brought it home to Stout with her second lap at 1:17.440.
Holmes handed off to Stout at the 4:59.396 mark on the time clock and she finished her first lap with a 1:12.716 sprint. She maintained the Cowgirls within the top three through her second lap passing the baton to Burton at 7:32.236.
Burton, the two-time state champion 800M runner, stretched out her stride in her first lap to give the Cowgirls the permanent lead as she ran a 1:05.219 first lap. Running a 1:15.984 final 400M, Burton crossed at 9:53.438 giving the Cowgirls their long awaited championship.
These four girls ran five times at the State Track Meet and medaled all five times. They began in 2017 with a seventh place finish in the 4x400M with a time of 4:125.49 and a sixth place time in the 4x800M at 10:13.12. Last year this talented group ran fifth in the 4x800M at 9:59.53.
Their fourth state medal came with the championship on Saturday, nearly six seconds better than the 2018 medal time.
Oh, they capped off the 2019 meet with another stop on the awards podium as they collected their fifth state medal with a second place finish in the 4x400M. In this race the Cowgirls were nicked at the finish line by Louisburg to finish as the runner up. Louisburg got the 2019 gold at 3:25.39 with the Cowgirls finishing at 3:25.61.
Barnes and Burton both graduated this month and Holmes and Stout will be seniors in 2020. Abilene head coach Steve Simpson and assistant coach Brad Hartman will have to replace two key elements in the Cowgirls relays. These two graduating seniors ran as freshman with then seniors Cara Donley and Belle Barbieri to finish ninth in 2016 in the 4x800M.
They wont have to look too far as Bailey Rock, Annie Bathurst and Shiann Olberding ran and practiced with the relays all year and served as alternates in Wichita.
Contact Ron Preston at email@example.com.