-- With her signature pace-setting style and a gutsy final kick, Fauquier senior Sarah Bowman left her mark on the record book in the mile run on Saturday, running the third-fastest time ever by a high school girl at the Nike Outdoor Nationals at North Carolina A&T State University.
Bowman set a brisk early pace and still had energy left at the end to finish in 4 minutes 36.95 seconds, faster than any high school girl in 23 years. Brie Felnagle of Tacoma, Wash., was second in 4:39.71.
After her final race as a high schooler, an exhausted Bowman took a seat on the infield near the finish line after running the final quarter-mile in 68.5 seconds.
"Right now it's hard to enjoy it because I don't feel so good," Bowman said. "At the end, I was hurting so much I didn't care, I just wanted to finish."
In 1982, Polly Plumer of Irvine, Calif., set the record of 4:35.24, and Kim Gallagher of Fort Washington, Pa., had a time of 4:36.94, both occurring in races run against collegiate competition. Bowman's time Saturday was the fastest ever by a girl in a high school-only race, passing Arie Lambie of Harvard, Mass. (4:37.23 in 2003), the only other girl before Saturday to break 4:40.
Bowman, an eight-time All-Met who will run for Tennessee next year, gave those records their stiffest test in years. Conditions were nearly perfect, with temperatures in the mid-seventies and a light breeze blowing across Aggie Stadium.
As has been her custom throughout her career, Bowman burst to a big early lead, finishing the first lap in 67 seconds and the next in 70. Felnagle gradually gained ground, and when Bowman took a couple of peeks behind her with 200 meters left, Felnagle was just a few strides back. But instead of fading, Bowman left Felnagle behind during one last push for the finish line.
"Everyone gets too afraid in these races to take the lead, because they're too afraid they're going to die," Bowman said. "I knew that even if I went out fast and died, at least I gave it my best shot."
In other events, DeMatha's 4x400 relay of Michael Lemon, Kai Roper, Dante Buckner and Jeremy Samuels took first place in 3:13.53, capping an exciting season for the Stags that included a close third-place finish at the Penn Relays, a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference team championship and this national title.
"On the whole it's been a great year," Roper said. "DeMatha has had a lot of success this season."
Eleanor Roosevelt captured first place in the boys' sprint medley relay (1:30.96), and Long Reach junior All-Met Tiffany Long was second in the long jump with a mark of 19 feet 41/4 inches.