During the week leading up to the Division II state meet, junior Emma Harris of the Columbus School for Girls track and field team kept dreaming she let down her teammates on the 1,600-meter relay because she was too tired to finish the race.
Harris began to wonder if that dream would become reality when she felt drained after running the 800 on a warm day at state, which was held June 7 and 8 at Ohio State.
Fortunately for the Unicorns, Harris bounced back in time to team with freshman Eleanor Smith, sophomore Rebecca O'Donovan and freshman Isabella Pesavento to place fourth in the 1,600 relay in 3 minutes, 59.04 seconds.
"I had this recurring dream where I won the 800 and then passed out and wasn't able to run in the 1,600 relay," Harris said. "Before I ran, I was sitting on the bench feeling a lot of doubt until I saw how well my teammates were running. Seeing my teammates run so well inspired me to give it everything I had because I wanted to do my best for them."
Smith took the lead on the first leg and handed the baton to O'Donovan, who kept the Unicorns in first place throughout her leg of the race.
"We definitely wanted to get up there with the top runners from the start to put ourselves in a position to finish high on the podium," Smith said. "I ran as hard as I could and we all did the best we could to stay up there with the top teams."
Harris received the baton in third place and held on for the fourth-place finish to help CSG tie seven other teams for 39th (5 points) at state behind champion Eastmoor Academy (58) as 68 squads scored.
"Running the 1,600 relay at state was a new experience for all four of us and it was an honor to be here," Harris said. "Running in front of so many people is breathtaking and you never get used to it. Our training really helped prepare us for this experience.
"We're a young team and this isn't the last you will see of our 1,600 relay here."
Harris also finished 11th in the 800 (2:19.56) after placing sixth in the 800 (2:17.38) at state a year ago.
"I didn't do as well as I wanted, but this was a learning experience," she said. "Last year, I did a lot of sprint workouts and I really blossomed as a runner. This year, I trained too much for distance and not enough for sprints, and it hit me hard over the last 300 meters. But that experience made me more determined to do well for our relay."
In the regional May 30 and June 1 at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, CSG tied Cincinnati McNicholas for 14th (18) behind champion Eastmoor (82) as 38 teams scored. Harris finished third in the 800 (2:19.51) and O'Donovan, Pesavento, Smith and Harris finished third in the 1,600 relay (4:01.49).
The Unicorns finished third (87) in the 13-team district 2 meet May 21, 22 and 25 at Westerville South behind Eastmoor (144) and Caledonia River Valley (132). Placing first were Smith, Pesavento, sophomore Sabrina Ebner and Harris in the 1,600 relay (4:03.35) and Harris in the 800 (2:20.07).
"We had a lot of (personal records) at district and regional," coach Elon Simms said.
In the CCL meet May 16 and 18 at home, CSG scored 112 points to finish second behind DeSales (114) and ahead of Watterson (105), Hartley (102) and Ready (55).
Sophomore Erika Sims won the long jump (15 feet, 9 inches) and Harris finished second in the 1,600 (5:30) and 800 (2:26).
Also finishing second were O'Donovan in the shot put (33-3 3/4), Smith, freshman Alyssa Sugar, senior Abigail Perrini and Harris in the 3,200 relay (10:05.1), Smith, Pesavento, Ebner and Harris in the 1,600 relay (4:07.4), Ebner, Pesavento, junior Mo Ruff and O'Donovan in the 400 relay (51.2), Perrini in the 3,200 (12:39.3) and Smith in the 400 (59.2).
"We had a great performance at CCL," Simms said. "It was disappointing to lose by only two points, but that's only motivating us to come back stronger next year.
"We're losing two seniors (in Katelyn Lennon and Perrini) who both did a great job of being leaders, but we have 95 percent of our point scorers coming back, so we will probably gain more out of our freshman class than we'll lose when our seniors leave."