The race between sophomores Eleanor Smith and Lauren Heaton was so close that neither was sure who won after they crossed the finish line in the final of the 400 meters in the Division III state track and field meet June 7 at Ohio State.
When Smith learned she had finished second (57.33 seconds) behind Russia's Heaton (57.29), she still was elated rather than disappointed.
With Smith leading the way, Columbus School for Girls tied for seventh (22 points) in the two-day state meet behind champion McDonald (45) as 66 teams scored.
"I fell (as I crossed the finish line and when) I asked the person who was helping me up, he asked my name and he told me I was second," Smith said. "I am still happy with that for my first individual state race in track.
"We went out fast. I was trying to hold on in the first 200. I knew being in lane three would play to my advantage. I think I have more endurance from running middle distance, not just sprints, so it helps me maintain my speed starting at the 150 to go. I could see coming out of the curve we were all bunched, and I gave it my all. I knew that would probably be my best race of the day. I was pretty proud to come in second."
Senior Emma Harris, sophomore Isabella Pesavento, freshman Ayla Kazemi and Smith finished fourth in the 1,600 relay (3:58.86).
"It was so exciting to run our best time of the year in the 1,600 relay at state," Pesavento said. "Everyone on this relay ran their hearts out."
Junior Rebecca O'Donovan, senior Cecilia Pesavento, senior Mo Ruff and Isabella Pesavento finished fourth in the 800 relay (1:44.87).
"We came together and ran our fastest time of the year in this relay," Cecilia Pesavento said. "It was exciting to finish so high on the podium."
Isabella Pesavento, freshman Nia Caldwell, Ruff and O'Donovan placed fifth in the 400 relay (50.0) and Smith finished 13th in the 800 (2:21.83).
"I didn't do what I wanted to," Smith said. "Once I hit the 200, I knew it was not going to go as planned. I was too tired and I knew it wasn't going to work out to my advantage. I still had the 1,600 (relay), too."
Harris, freshman Grace Tierney, freshman Anna Tierney and Smith took ninth in the 3,200 relay (9:44.82), Cecilia Pesavento was 14th in the 100 hurdles (16.3) and Isabella Pesavento was 12th in the 400 (59.98).
The Unicorns' state appearance capped a season in which they captured their first CCL title and won district and regional championships.
CSG scored 70 points to win a regional title May 30 at Fairfield Union ahead of runner-up Columbus Academy (57) as 43 squads scored.
Smith won the 400 (57.44) and combined with Harris, Isabella Pesavento and Kazemi to win the 1,600 relay (4:00.25).
The Unicorns scored 101 points to win a district title May 24 at Whitehall ahead of runner-up Mount Gilead (80.33) as 24 teams scored. Placing first were Smith in the 800 (2:17.87) and 400 (57.81), and Cecilia Pesavento in the 100 hurdles (16.28).
CSG (145) won the CCL title May 17 ahead of Watterson (138), Hartley (94), host DeSales (90) and Ready (22). Cecilia Pesavento won the 100 hurdles (16.5) and 300 hurdles (48.6), Harris, Smith and the Tierney sisters won the 3,200 relay (9:51.9) and junior Erika Sims won the long jump (16 feet, 11 inches).
"For a lot of my teammates, winning the CCL was the highlight of the season because we had to beat Division I and II teams to do it," Smith said. "But winning regional was awesome because it showed that we're one of the best Division III teams in the state."
Seven of CSG's 10 state competitors are expected to return.