DENTON - The event that was the girls’ 3200-meter run only became interesting when second place was in doubt for most of the competition during the Region II-4A Track and Field Championships Friday afternoon.
It was a vital placement in the race because it would provide the runner with her ticket to the state meet; third place stayed home.
But with every turn that McKinney North’s Stephanie Ganter trotted, her lead became more sizeable, leaving no doubt who the best long distance runner was. Not so for second place as at least half a dozen runners took turns trailing Ganter.
Midlothian’s Carli Kitts, who stayed in the back for the first two turns, eventually caught up to a second pack of runners who couldn’t formulate any kind of distance advantage.
It wasn’t until the fourth turn that Kitts, just a freshman, became a serious threat as she continued to pace herself.
Her most formidable opponent, however, became Highland Park’s Sara Sutherland, who didn’t seem to tire out as she stayed with the smaller-framed Kitts.
But as the last turn began, Kitts and Sutherland began to turn on the heat on each other, eventually moving past the rest of the field and running side-by-side.
But Kitts proved too much for Sutherland as the first-year varsity athlete began to distance herself.
She would eventually turn in a 11:12.70 time, way back of Ganter’s 10:55.87, but at least now, she has another opportunity to build on the feat.
For the Scots’ Sutherland, her season is over.
“It was really intense because we were battling it out the whole time,” Kitts said. “I was dying as the end neared.”
Kitts was quite narrative in talking about her experience. She also thought other runners were going to get past her.
“In the last 100 meters, I really thought somebody was going to pass me; I was giving it my all,” Kitts said.
Her workouts vary between fast-paced runs and jogs at a routine pace.
Kitts said it has helped her with endurance, which she obviously displayed in the race.
At this point, Kitts wants to take in whatever comes her way. She admits the change of scenery from district to regional and then state might be overwhelming.
But she continues to focus on what she has done and can do.
At present, her best time in the 3200 run is 10:49,which she reached at the recent Texas Relays at the same stadium state will be held - Mike Myers Stadium, in Austin.
“I just want to keep improving on my times; I think eventually they will come down,” Kitts said. “I just need to stay healthy and I have been injury free all year, thank God.”
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