In the end, the best individual performer in the area just wanted to say she was part of the best team.
Fauquier senior Sarah Bowman capped one of the state's most decorated careers by leading the Falcons to their first title Saturday at the Virginia AA girls' track and field championships at James Madison University.
The two-time All-Met Athlete of the Year in outdoor track and field won her fourth straight 1,600-meter run, her third straight 800 and placed third in the high jump. Her times in the 800 (2 minutes 9.32 seconds) and 1,600 (4:41.81) broke her own meet records, and her 3,200 time on Friday night (10:21.15) shattered the meet record despite the fact that it was only the third time she had run the event.
Bowman accounted for more than half of the 57 points amassed by Fauquier, which beat second-place Western Albemarle (37) and third-place Pulaski County (36).
"When someone doesn't get quite the points we expect we try and pick it up in other places," Bowman said. "It's kind of nice because it's not for yourself anymore. It's for the team."
Bowman's wins in the running events were practically foregone conclusions heading into the meet. But her leap of 5 feet 3 inches in the high jump, an event in which she competes semi-regularly, helped put Fauquier over the top.
"She did it as a team thing," Falcons Coach Quentin Jones said. "We know she's good at jumping events. She proved that as a freshman on up. This year was a little scary. We worried about the risk of injury with her commitment to Tennessee. But you know, she stepped it up."
Meantime, Liberty senior Rachael Clark ended a surprising first year of competition by winning the shot put with a throw of 42-01/2. Clark also won a title during the indoor season.
"I had no expectations," said Clark. "I did not expect to win state titles. I just think about what if I would have done it my freshman year. Coaches say I might have been burned out. But now I know I can spend more time on it in college and get better."
The Loudoun Valley team of Katie Moreno, Jen Sorrell, Sammy Mizerak and Jessica Nauta won the 4x400 relay with a time of 4:01.82.