With shaky knees, I hesitantly made my way up the large white steps. With the back of my hand, I brushed away a few salty tears of relief. As I stood at the top of the podium and looked up into the packed stadium, my mind drifted back to everything I had gone through to achieve this moment, the day I became a state champion.
The start of the 2002 track season found me concerned with how I would perform. After a disastrous bout with mononucleosis ended my freshmen track season, the fear of failure weighed heavily on my mind. I set a goal for myself in order to maintain focus and to push myself like nothing else would. My goal for my sophomore track season was to become a state champion in the 100 meter hurdles. I worked hard everyday at practice and went the extra mile, like running every Sunday, to be just that much closer to reaching my goal. The thought of standing highest on the podium in the center of the field, surrounded by hundreds of spectators, overcame my thoughts of complaining every time we had a hard workout. When I closed my eyes, I pictured myself waiting in anticipation as other competitors names were called out, one by one, until finally, the booming voice announced over the loudspeaker, "...and in first place, your 2002 100 meter hurdle champion, from Hotchkiss, Connie Dawson." It was visions like these that drove me to work harder everyday.
As the season progressed, competition started getting fiercer. I was up against girls running at a 5A level, yet, I was able to hold my own. Finally there came a tiny light at the end of the tunnel; it seemed as though I was getting closer and closer to accomplishing my goal. Along with my undefeated title came a huge target painted on my back. I religiously checked "Rocky Preps" every day to see if the competition was gaining on me. It seemed that every time I had improved, there was someone right behind me, running their personal best too. I trained during the weeks before regionals like I had never trained before. Each day my stomach became more twisted with knots that looped around every part of my stomach. I don't think I had ever been that nervous in my whole life.