Michelle McKinney was just 1.19 seconds shy of winning the state title in the 800-meter run for the second year in a row, but she said she was just hoping to do her best.
McKinney ran her fastest race ever, finishing with a time of 2:10.43, beating her previous record of 2:11.8 at Jesse Owen Memorial Stadium in Columbus on Saturday, June 7.
McKinney said she wanted to become state champion again, but she knew she would be happy as long as she did her best. Samantha Murray, who became state champion in this race, was runner-up to McKinney last year.
“I came in, I ran my fastest time ever, and I still got second, so she just had the better race today, so kudos to her,” McKinney said.
McKinney said she and Murray were both encouraging each other before the race began and said competing against the same girls over the years helps them to form bonds.
“It’s nice, you definitely get to have a lot of friendships and relationships built with girls just like you who want the same thing, same desires, same work ethic,” she said.
McKinney ran track during all four years of high school and advanced to the state meet each year.
“I’ve been here since my freshman year, so this was my fourth time racing on this track, so ya know, that’s awesome that barely anyone can say they did that,” McKinney said. “I came out with a great season so it was very exciting.”
McKinney’s uncle Randy McKinney was her coach for all four years of track in high school and has been her coach since seventh grade.
“I owe everything to him,” Michelle McKinney said. “He’s the one who trained me, he pushed me through everything, he believed in me when I couldn’t so he’s always told me I could do it. It’s been awesome. It’s been nice having the same coach, so it’s gonna be weird not having him anymore.”
Michelle is a senior and will be going to the University of Kentucky next year, where she will be competing in track and cross country. She said she finished her high school career out on a good note.
“That’s all I can ask for,” she said. “I ran my best, there’s nothing else I can do.”