Hannah Richardson was in a tizzy. Just moments after the B-CC junior charged into second place in the 800-meter run, she found herself putting on yet another number sticker for the 4x400-meter relay. Still flushed and out of breath, she watched as her teammate Addie Tousley led off the first leg of the race.
Tousley was not in any better shape than Richardson. After running and scoring in the three longest races of the meet (4x8, 1600, 3200), she was asked to push her endurance to the limit by leading off the 4x4 in what could have been a critical event. The girls were notified before the race that they were winning the meet by a slim margin as of the last posted results.
If anybody was fresh, it was Paige Donnelly. Donnelly did not qualify for any open events but her leg in the 4x800 was critical to keeping Largo at bay and out of the race. She ran her personal best with a 2:26 split, helping them win the race in 9:40. She had over two hours rest between races, but she was also not a 400 meter specialist.
There would be no heroic victory in the final event for the B-CC girls. Tousley quickly fell to last place with a 1:09 split. The team was never able to work their way into it. In fact, they were disqualified, supposedly for breaking to the inside lane too soon on either the first or second leg.
It became a waiting game for B-CC. The girls finally put their warm ups on over their uniforms for the final time. Coach Chad Young entertained team parents in the stands, going over the math and all of the possible scenarios out loud. Head Coach Nathan Herchenroeder stood by his athletes calmly until the announcer called for the B-CC coach to meet with the officials.
That's a good thing, right?
Time dragged on. Young repeatedly told the athletes that they probably won, but he was not sure. The officials had wanted to know how to spell Coach Herchenroeder's name.
Over 20 minutes after the meet ended, it was announced that the B-CC girls won the 3A state title. When the girls showed minimal excitement, the playful boys' team reacted with exaggerated surprise and joy. Richardson later explained that they were feeling so shocked that it was hard to get excited. The four girls and two coaches accepted their state title plaque and allowed parents to photograph them. Smiling from ear to ear, Freshman Alex Doll just took it all in.
Doll is a new addition to the track team this year, and with some previous distance running experience, she was expected to be a contributing member. Nobody knew she would boost them to a team state title.
Coming off the fall soccer season, she headed right into the winter soccer season, but also decided to join her high school track team. She started off the season by outrunning some of Montgomery County's best runners in the early season relay meets, but few knew the improvements that she was making in practice.
In one particular practice, members of the boys' team paced her in a hard mile to get a seed time for the Montgomery Invitational. She hit 1:18 for the first 400 meters and 1:18 for the next 400 meters. Then she took off with two boys on the team.
After crossing the line in 5:11, Coach Young asked her how she felt.
"Fine," she said with a smile.
According to Young, she was not tired or out of breath. He emailed the Montgomery Invitational meet director to tell him about the new miler in town.
The time trial was enough to get her into the invitational mile. Some questioned the decision to include an athlete with an unverified time, but she made it one of the most exciting races of the season by running away from All-Met athletes Ariel Karabinus and Lia Divalentin. Morgane Gay of Whitman caught Doll at the very last instant. Doll finished in 2nd place in 5:08.53.
Gay was again favored to win the 1600 at the county championship, but Doll broke her half way through and dominated the race in 5:06.98.
Over a month went by before her next race due to an ice storm that postpwned the regional meet. She easily won the 4x800, 1600, and 800.
Coming off a weekend of four soccer games, she entered the state meet with high expectations. She led off for the winning 4x800 relay team and won the 1600-meter run in dominating fashion with a time of 5:16.41. She showed signs of fatigue in the 800-meter run where she faded from third to sixth place in the final 100 meters. Her sixth place finish in the 800-meter run was the final point scored by B-CC. It was the deciding point that allowed them to win 43 to 42 over Westlake.
Winning is just her nature.
According to Young, "She has really helped to change the attitude of our whole team to a team that wants to win and work even harder. Alex brings that unbelievable competitiveness and drive with a sweet smile and humility."
Doll will go back to playing soccer this spring season and B-CC will go back to competing without her. She plans to return to the indoor track team next winter.
Coach Chad Young, Paige Donnelly, Addie Tousley, Alex Doll, Hannah Richardson, Coach Nathan Herchenroeder