I'll leave this site with so many memories of being your webmaster the past 6 years. I've compiled my list of 10 stories I'll always remember. This is not intended to be a list of the best athletes but simply personal reflections of the stories we have brought you over the past half a dozen years. My thanks to Craig Martin who's ability to tell a story is one I envy. Finally this list is really just ten stories presented one at a time as opposed to a ranking.
For 25 years, Meghan Thompson's Girls 1600 Meter time was fastest time ever run at the state meet. On a hot day in late May of 2014 the record was broken by Hannah Long and then in the very next race by Taylor Werner. One year later at the 2015 meet, Hannah once again reclaimed the record.
It took 25 years to topple Megan Thompson’s 1,600-meter record. It took less than 10 minutes for that mark to fall again.
Eureka junior Hannah Long took off on her own early in the race Friday, and she kept nearly even splits throughout to erase Thompson’s 1989 record of 4:47.53 with her own 4:46.21 at the MSHSAA Class 3-4 Track & Field Championships at Lincoln University’s Dwight T. Reed Stadium.
“The goal was to be conservative the first lap so I would have a lot left at the end,” Long said. “I pretty much did even pacing, and that’s what we’ve been working on in practice. All I can do now is work on my finish.
“I was leaning for a 4:44; that’s what we worked on in practice. I was so excited to have that record because I was so close last year (4:49.53), so yeah, I was happy. Maybe a little (disappointment), but I’m still happy with my own performance and that’s what counts.”
While Long was on the podium receiving her Class 4 first-place medal, Ste. Genevieve sophomore Taylor Werner was chasing down Long’s newly-established time. Werner had help pushing the pace through the first three laps in Festus senior Jamie Kempfer, and Werner finally broke away on the last lap to drop a 4:44.26 and establish an even faster 1,600 record.
“I was shocked,” said Werner, who moved to No. 5 in the national ranking. “I saw the time, and I kind of freaked out there the last 10 meters. I still can’t register it in my mind.”
Long had nothing but praise and admiration for the girls in the Class 3 race.
“I just love watching (Werner) and Jamie,” Long said. “It’s awesome to have them right here in Missouri because they’re such great competitors.”
Kempfer also ran a strong race and finished runner-up to Werner in 4:49.27, which eclipsed the Class 3 record set by Festus alumna Alyssa Allison in 2008.
“I knew (Werner) wanted to get the record, but my goal was to hang on and stay with her as long as possible and try to beat her if I could,” Kempfer said. “I knew (Long) was going to get it; it was inevitable, and I was pretty sure Taylor was going to get it after her. I knew no matter what the race was going to be fast, and I was ready for it.”
Long had a chance to meet Megan (Thompson) Daniels following the race, and the two enjoyed a special exchange and reveled in what the moment meant.
“She’s just an awesome person, and I told her we talk about her record all the time,” Long said. “It was so great to finally meet her. She was very excited and said she was honored that I got to break her record.”
Daniels said it was her first trip back to the state meet since 1990 and that she felt she had to be there for what everyone was anticipating to be a record-breaking day, and she admitted that she was surprised the record had stood for so long.
“I knew (Long) was always going to get it, and then when she ran a 4:45 at the start of the season I thought, ‘I need to get down there,’” Daniels said. “I wondered if there was any chance for a double record breaking day, and it was amazing. Technically, it should’ve fallen years ago.
“I think I had time to process it when Emily (Sisson) was so close. I wrapped my mind around it, and with all the young runners coming up it was meant to happen. Initially, it was going to be bittersweet. But today, it was sheer joy. Hannah’s a wonderful and humble athlete.”
Eureka coach Kally Fischer raced against Megan during their prep days, and the two approached MSHSAA about letting Daniels award the state medal to Long. MSHSAA denied the request.
“I was surprised, but I understand them not wanting to set precedent,” Daniels said. “But how often does that happen where the ‘old’ athlete is there when their record falls and could recognize what the ‘young’ athlete just did?”