COLUMBUS — A recent graduate of Washington High School, Maddy Garrison was striving to end her outstanding high school track career on the podium at the State meet in the 1600-meter run Saturday.
As a junior, Garrison qualified to State in the 1600-meters and placed 16th.
This year, Garrison improved upon that placement, but had to settle for 10th place, at least two places from where she wanted to be.
Garrison ran a time of 5:14.29, which improved upon her school record time of 5:14.40, which placed her third at the previous week’s Regional meet in New Concord.
On Saturday, senior Annie Zimmer of Chagrin Falls won the 1600-meter title in a time of 4:53.98.
Just a freshman, Ella Gilson of Hawken was second in 4:59.82.
The rest of the field that made the podium, third place through eighth, turned in times ranging from 5:05.08 to 5:09.88.
Garrison was clearly disappointed as she exited the track and received a comforting hug from her coach, Louis Reid.
“Obviously, we wanted to get on the podium,” Reid said. “I know her and I know she went out and ran hard. She moved up from where she finished last year.
“I’m just very proud of the outstanding career that Maddy has had,” Reid said. “She’s given her all to us all year long. I’m sure it’s not what she wanted. She wanted to get on the podium, but, she’s had a great career. She’s been a great leader for me and I’m very proud of her. I’m going to really miss coaching her.
“She kept herself in the race,” Reid said. “She was competing. She placed 10th, obviously two spots off.
“She’s going to go on to bigger and better things at Marshall,” Reid said. “I’m really excited to see what the future holds for Maddy Garrison. She’s a good kid and it’s been great coaching a kid like Maddy.”
“My nerves are always a big part,” Garrison said. “They weren’t as bad as they were last year. I finished better than I did last year. I was 16th here last year and I finished in the 5:30’s. This year I was 10th and I finished in the 5-teens. That’s always progress. That’s always a good thing.
“But, I didn’t reach my goal,” Garrison said, her voice trailing away.
Garrison spoke a bit about what lies ahead.
“I’ll probably take a week or two off,” Garrison said. “Then I’ll be getting my workout from Marshall and I’ll start training for them here soon.”
Garrison will run cross country and indoor and outdoor track at Marshall.
“Cross country is a 5-K,” Garrison said. “I don’t know my events in track yet. That’s up to them. I’m excited for that. There’s a lot more to come.
“I would just like to thank my entire family,” Garrison said. “They were all here today and I’m really thankful they are here to watch me today, even though I didn’t make my goal.
“The whole coaching staff is here,” Garrison said. “Coach Reid has stood by me and Coach (Tim) Walters stood by me. They’ve helped me out a lot with my confidence this year. Just the whole Blue Lion community. My teammates.
“For Rayana, the one I’ve been here with the last two years, I wish her the best of luck for the rest of her high school career,” Garrison said. “I hope she can accomplish a lot more.”
There certainly is a lot more for Maddy Garrison to accomplish as she begins the next chapter of her life in Huntington, West Virginia.
Garrison leaves Washington as a three-time State qualifier in track (once as a member of the 4 x 400-meter relay team) and a two-time State qualifier in cross country.
She also qualified once to the State indoor meet in the 3200-meter run.
She leaves as the school record-holder in four events: the 1600-meters, the 3200-meters, the steeplechase and in the 5-K in cross country.