The Freshmen Flash 4x400 heart throbbing finish

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Photos by Kyle Quick
Pictured on the left is the 4x400 and on the right 4x800.

Centralia, Mo – Coach John Tucker said, “Our goal today [Saturday] was simply to survive, finish in the top four, and advance to next weekend’s State Meet.”

New Haven will be sending six girls, five of them freshman, for the chance of winning a state medal.  Kiersten Monzyk was the only girl to advance that is not part of a relay team.  Monzyk finished fourth in the 400m with a career best 1:03.30.

Coach Tucker, along with shamrock fans, had high expectations for the 4x800m relay and 4x400m relay teams coming into Saturday’s Class 1Sectional meet.  Five 15 year old girls, no experience, some of them never had ran track before, and yet they ran in the biggest meet of their short careers as if they had done it a million times.

4x400 team after an emmotional fourth place finish.

New Haven’s “Freshman Flash of Five” accomplished what they had set out to do, compete in the largest track meet of the year with the chance of winning a state championship.

The 4x800m relay team, Beth Schenck, Hannah Pruessner, Hannah Kruse, and Taylor Covington, ran a career best, 10:31.00, nearly nine seconds faster than their previous time, finishing second to easily accomplish their first goal.

The 4x400m relay, Hannah Pruessner, Hannah Kruse, Molly Munsinger, and the anchor, Taylor Covington, race was so nerve racking, Tucker said, “I had to look away.”

Hannah Kruse makes the handoff to Molly Munsinger.

Munsinger, the team’s third runner and after Kruse handed her the baton, the team was in fifth place approximately 20 to 30 meters behind the fourth place team.

Munsinger took off like a rocket, moving New Haven into second place by the time she placed the baton to Covington.  Everything they had worked for rested on the Covington’s shoulders.  Only she could determine the outcome.

Covington initially fell behind back into fifth place.  As she came around the final turn the last 100 meters it was neck and neck between Valley Catholic, New Haven, and Marion County.  Covington still in fifth place with less than 25 meters to go, broke to the outside making her move, crossing the finish line.

Taylor Covington comes out of the final turn in fifth place.

Everyone’s heart was pounding as they awaited the official results.  Third, fourth, and fifth place was separated by just 2.6 tenths of a second.

Officials took a moment to review the finish and it was official, the “Freshman Flash of five” was headed to state.

Experience means nothing at the end of a race this close.  It comes down to one thing, “Who wants it more?”  Two tenths of a second was the difference between New Haven moving on or Marion County, but then again there is only one “Freshman Flash” who has the determination these girls have.

It was inspiring to watch this group of young freshmen, with such a desire to win.  Their emotions ran deep as tears filled their eyes and pure exhaustion took over.

New Haven’s “Freshmen Flash of Five” has proven they are capable of making it to the state track meet.  Now, can they accomplish what they have worked for all year long?  This weekend they will get their chance.  Five freshmen with one goal – bring home a state medal.

We will be there for Saturday’s finals with exclusive coverage of what may be; one of the greatest story's of all time.

Click here to results from Saturday's meet.

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Covington makes her move down the straight away, breaking to the outside.