By Dave Mast
Once she was able to over come the awe of having finished with a flurry in grabbing third place to qualify for the state meet in Columbus, that look of awe turned to one of sheer joy, the Bulldogs sophomore unable to eliminate the wide grin now plastered on her face.
Carathers made a big-time push at the end of the race, driving past several competitors on her way to a beautiful PR time of 25.89.
“That is unbelievable, I am beyond excited,” said Carathers after the race. “Being just a sophomore, it feels like such a big accomplishment. Last year I made it to regionals finals but didn’t qualify for state. This time I was able to finish strong, and this has been my goal ever since middle school.”
Carathers had qualified fourth in the prelims in what she felt was a solid time of 26.26, just eight-hundredths off her former PR. But she sizzled in the finals, besting that time easily, and finishing behind champion Abby Caldwell of River (25.41) and runner-up Rachel Adams of Aquinas (25.66).
While it may behoove a runner to clear their mind and simply run, Carathers said she was thinking a lot during the race, and not about the glory of running at state.
“I was thinking coming around the turn that there were a whole lot of girls in front of me,” said Carathers with a laugh. “But that just inspired me to push even harder, and I felt like I really picked it up a notch after the turn.”
This will mark the second appearance for the young Bulldogs at the state competition. Last year she ran with teammates Kristen Geiser, Lora Knopp and Madeline Zaleski in the 4×100, the team placing 10th in the prelims and just missing out on the finals.
This year she joined Knopp, Zaleski and Sarah Doty in flashing to second in the 4×100, this qualifying for state in that event too. After her fantastic finish, her teammates came running to her to celebrate the accomplishment.
That leads to a showcase in Columbus, where they get to run in front of thousands. At least they have the experience from last year from which they will surely learn.
“It’s kind of indescribable down there,” said Carathers of the big stage. “Being from a little school and running in some pretty little meets, to seeing all of those people there, is really amazing. And I get to go compete with my teammates and in the 200. This is just a great day.”