McNeil senior Judy Emeodi’s graduation gifts to herself were silver and bronze medals from her final high school track and field meet.
She completed her final state meet with a personal-best time of 11.63 seconds in a sizzling Class 5A 100 meters, a race she led until the final few steps. An hour later she finished in third place in the 200 meters.
In the 100, Rushell Harvey of Fort Bend Bush rallied late and lunged across the line in 11.57 seconds. Neither Harvey nor Emeodi knew who won until Harvey’s name came up first on the Myers Stadium scoreboard.
The Harvey-Emeodi duel was one of the closest races to be witnessed by 17,214 fans on the final day of the UIL State Track and Field Meet, an event filled with several state records.
Emeodi, who finished at 11:63, led half the race, but knew her longtime rival possessed a strong finishing kick.
“I could feel her behind me those last 20 meters,” Emeodi said. “I did the best I could to hold her off.”
Bound for TCU this fall, Emeodi described the outcome as “bittersweet” but was thrilled to beat her previous best time, 11.69 seconds.
Harvey earned her second gold medal of the night by winning the 200 meters, finishing in 23.58 seconds. Spring’s Taylor Bennett earned silver in 23.77 and Emodi took the bronze in 23.81.
Wimberley junior Kally Long became the second Central Texas pole vaulter to earn a medal at state — joining 4A silver medalist Meagan Gray of Hays — when she struck 3A gold.
Long, who won the event at 12 feet, 9 inches, had a challenging journey to state. Diagnosed with mononucleosis in February, she lost 16 pounds in two months.
“I remember bawling in the doctor’s office, asking why did it have to happen now,” said Long, whose smile showed a combination of joy and relief. “I think I’m OK now, but it took a long time to get over it. I was so out of shape.”
Westlake’s Nicole Summersett narrowly missed becoming the third Central Texas pole vaulter to earn a state medal. She finished in a three-way tie for third with a jump of 13 feet even, but was placed fifth because she had more misses than her opponents.
It is the first time in meet history that a female pole vaulter cleared 13 feet but did not earn a medal. To put her height in perspective, her effort would have been good for fifth place at the Big 12 Track and Field Meet last week.
Taylor’s Fred Kerley took bronze in the 3A 200 meters, finishing behind winner Dominique Bobo of Wichita Falls Hirschi and silver medalist Royce Caldwell of Columbus.
Atlanta’s Chris Ibarra captured a pair of races by wide margins. He won the 800 meters in 1:52.21, nearly 7 seconds faster than Dallas Madison’s Jesse Montgomery. An hour later he won the 1,600 in 4:20.79, almost four seconds ahead of silver medalist Christopher Speaks of Coldspring-Oakhurst.
As for state records, Justin Northwest junior Desiree Freier defended her 5A pole vault title by winning with a jump of 13-9. She cleared 13-9 on her third and final attempt to break the old record of 13-7, set by Shane Weygandt of Mansfield in 2007.
Humble Kingwood’s Sandie Raines smashed the 5A 3,200 meters by more than 10 seconds. Raines crossed in 10:13.81, breaking the old record of 10:24.80, set by Conroe Woodlands College Park’s Katie Jensen in 2012.