Finally: It’s Mel’s Time
Few things are tougher than watching a great champion getting beaten in the final race of her career at her specialty. Few things are sweeter than watching a longtime bridesmaid finally get the gold – and a record.
So it was with a bittersweet feeling that many must have watched Reno NV jr Marie Lawrence race by Saratoga NY sr Lindsey Ferguson on the last lap of the NON girls 2k steeplechase Saturday afternoon. Ferguson has rewritten the record book for the event with seemingly every race, with three new standards in less than 12 months, including her . The event is pretty new for Lawrence, but few know that she holds the high school best of 10:27.44 over the 3k barriers from last year’s Pan Am Juniors meet.
But even in that race, Lawrence was second, epitomizing a career-pattern in big meets, including three consecutive Foot Locker CC national meets and last week’s Golden West 3200. “My coach told me before the meet ‘don’t run for second place any more,’” she revealed afterward. “And I didn’t.”
The intriguing showdown lived up to its potential. Two-time NON champ Ferguson tried to run away from “Mel” by setting a torrid pace well under that needed to match her record. But the hot, windy conditions were unlike anything she has dealt with this year and she’d reportedly been dealing with some tendonitis.
Running with a practiced technique somewhat smoother than Lawrence’s, Ferguson built a 30-meter lead. With a lap to go (5:20), though, the lead was beginning to shrink. Mel started a kick not often seen from her and it was soon clear that if Ferguson couldn’t kick she was going to be overtaken. She couldn’t and she was. At the third-to-last barrier, the duo cleared together, then Lawrence sped away, moving almost 10 seconds away in the final 230 meters.
The announcer counted the seconds off and Mel crossed at 6:35.63, 0.42 ahead of Lindsey’s standard and also beating her junior class record. The runner-up’s time was 6:45.46 and her teammate, soph Hannah Davidson, came up for 3 rd in 6:58.79.
Mel hadn’t raced a steeple yet this year, but has been training over barriers some in the weeks since her state meet. “I didn’t have a water jump to work over, but I just pretended. I jumped over hurdles and pushed off.
“I just think ‘don’t hit the hurdles,’” she added. “Every time it hurts a little less.”
Ferguson was gracious in defeat. “I did my best so I can’t be too upset,” she said. “Marie ran awesome.”
For 90 percent of the race, Ferguson led Lawrence.
by Elliott Denman
The new steeplechasing shoes go "squish,
squish, squish'' - letting the water seep out - so runners don't go "flop, flop,
This one sure was no flop - producing the huge drama of a two-time,
Ferguson was considered a virtual "lock," one of the strongest favorites
But no one was consulting Reno, Nevada junior Marie "Mel" Lawrence,
It was anyone's race with some 250 meters to go. But Lawrence passed the
Licensed to C.F.P.I. Timing & Data Hy-Tek's Meet Manager Nike Outdoor Nationals - 6/15/2006 to 6/17/2006 North Carolina A+T University, Greensboro, NC Results Girls 2000 Meter Steeplechase ================================================================ National: $ 6:36.05 6/10/2006 Lindsay Ferguson, Saratoga, NY Meet: # 6:39.60 6/18/2005 Lindsey Ferguson, Saratoga, NY Freshman: 6:48.64 6/18/2005 Hannah Davidson, Saratoga, NY Sophomore: 6:45.49 6/5/2004 Lindsay Ferguson, Saratoga, NY Junior: 6:39.60 6/18/2005 Lindsay Ferguson, Saratoga, NY Senior: 6:36.05 6/10/2006 Lindsay Ferguson, Saratoga, NY Name Year School Finals ================================================================ Section 1 1 Danielle Karagannis 06 Asharoken Runnin,No 7:38.55 2 Patricia Wardwell 07 Clifton Park TC,Cli 7:39.08 3 Amanda Rusilas 06 Burnt Hills-Ball,Ch 7:43.66 4 Julia Rooney 07 Fiorello H. Lagu,Ne 7:51.15 5 Nefeteri Williams 06 Proviso West HS,Bel 7:51.38 6 Brigid Carey 08 Mountain Brook,Birm 7:51.45 7 Lindsay Conway 06 Eastridge HS,Roches 7:56.33 8 Beth Hoekstra 06 Runnin' Gear,Clarks 8:06.97 9 Leslie Boozer 09 Mountain Brook,Birm 8:17.09 10 Sondra Tusa 07 John F. Kennedy,Mer 8:56.16 Section 2 1 Marie Lawrence 07 Reno HS,Reno, NV 6:35.63$ 2 Lindsey Ferguson 06 Kinetic RC,Greenfie 6:45.46 3 Hannah Davidson 08 Kinetic RC,Saratoga 6:58.79 4 Leah Andrianos 07 East Syracuse-Mi,Ea 7:14.33 5 Ashlyn Sinclair 07 Mach Los TC,Silver 7:20.77 6 Mary Nothum 06 Washington Hs-Mo,Wa 7:25.33 7 Amanda Walsh 06 New Rochelle-Grl,Ne 7:30.70 8 Nicole Rozario 08 Pine Bush HS,Middle 7:33.58 9 Karen Roa 08 St. Francis Prep,Fl 7:37.75 10 Courtney Kelly 08 WC Mepham HS,North 7:38.64 11 Amber Riley 07 WV Flyers,Morgantow 7:44.80 12 Lyndsay Smith 06 Runnin' Gear,Clarks 7:50.51 13 Erin Hays 07 Shoreham-Wading,Wad 8:17.18