The girls’ track team also won the State Group 3 Relay a few weeks prior.
The Timber Creek High School girls track team made history recently when it captured the school’s first State Group 3 championship. It also won the State Group 3 Relay Championship a few weeks prior.
“Our coaches always told us we were capable of doing this, but after four years on the team, it was kind of unbelievable we were still able to win,” senior Kai Starnes said.
The 4×400 relay team of Starnes, her twin sister Adia, Tierra Hooker and Cheyenne Sovae-Beattie came in third place with a time of 4:02.84 to secure the state title.
Kai said she was nervous before the last relay because their coaches told them they had to place fifth or higher to win the title.
“At sectionals, we came in second (place), so we knew we were in a pretty good position, but they were teams we haven’t raced against before,” she said. “I was nervous because I was anchoring, but I was determined, and I knew we could finish strong.”
Beattie was injured at sectionals the week prior, but Adia said Beattie persevered and the team didn’t have any hesitation that she wouldn’t run at the state championships.
“We didn’t have any doubt; we knew she was going to run at states,” Adia said.
Head coach Shawn McHugh called winning the state title an “indescribable feeling,”
“One of my goals was to try to get the girls in this program a taste of that (championship) and be a part of that,” he said. “Last year, we won the state group relay championship, which is very hard to do because you have to be so deep and score in every event, which is even harder to do. That was the first real taste, and the girls were super excited. That was the foundation, and we knew we had something special with that group of girls.”
McHugh said no added pressure and trust between him, the coaches and the girls is a big reason why they had so much success this season.
“The girls have been working so hard to get to this point,” he said. “They trust each other and trust our coaching; we never put pressure on the girls. My thing was always just do what we do and have fun and things will always work out for us. They believe in that. I tell them to keep doing what you’re doing, even if the first event didn’t go the way we planned it.”
“Our coaches, they do their best to make us feel important, that they really care about our decision and especially what we want to put into certain races and do individually,” Adia said. “At the end of the day, the title goes to everyone on the team; even though those that didn’t’ even run.”