Imani Babatunde believed she had clear sailing while running the anchor leg of the 800-meter relay in the CCL meet, but the senior for the Columbus School for Girls track and field team wasn't taking any chances.
Babatunde pulled away from the pack to cross the finish line more than two seconds ahead of runner-up Watterson in the league meet held May 8 and 10 at Hartley.
Peyton Jackson, Asia Nguyen, Nyah Funderburke and Babatunde combined to win the 800 relay in 1 minute, 47.33 seconds, ahead of Watterson (1:49.44).
"I think I was in third when I started, but our times (as anchor runners) on the sheet were so close that I knew I had to run my heart out," Babatunde said. "I couldn't see anyone (around me), which is a good sign, but I heard people yelling so I thought they were closing in on me.
"I just wanted to keep on moving and push myself. At that point, it was like you are running by yourself because you have to push yourself."
The Unicorns scored 45 points in the league meet to finish fifth behind Watterson (175.5), Hartley (116), DeSales (107) and Ready (47.5).
Jackson, Funderburke and Babatunde also were on the third-place 1,600 relay (4:22.97) with Alexandria Rodgers.
"I definitely think we're doing well going into the postseason," Jackson said. "We're improving every single practice. My coaches and teammates are seeing the progress and both my teammates and the competition have been pushing me."
Also in the league meet, Funderburke finished third in the 200 (27.44), Jolien Kusi placed fourth in the shot put (27 feet, 1 inch) and fifth in the discus (79-2), Margeaux Rocco was fourth in the high jump (4-6) and Eva Nicolosi placed fourth in the long jump (16-0).
The Unicorns are competing in the Division II, district 1 meet this week at Westerville North. The meet began May 15, continued May 16 and concludes Saturday, May 19. The top four finishers in each event advance to the regional meet May 24 and 26 at Lexington.
"In the postseason, you are going to have people running next to you, so you have to be ready for that," Babatunde said. "You have to know how to push that out of your mind and just run.
"When you are (running next to) a person, it's so much different because it's so competitive. You have that girl next to you that you have to beat, but it's also motivation because you want to beat her."
Postseason underway for lacrosse team
The lacrosse team had won 12 of its past 14 games and was 12-6 overall before playing 12th-seeded Wellington in its Division II, Region 7 tournament opener May 16.
The winner plays at fourth-seeded Granville or 14th-seeded Chillicothe in a regional quarterfinal Saturday, May 18. That winner plays at top-seeded DeSales, eighth-seeded Dayton Oakwood, ninth-seeded Dayton Chaminade Julienne or 16th-seeded Centennial in a regional semifinal Tuesday, May 22.
The regional final is May 25.
Fifth-seeded CSG lost to Granville 10-7 on April 5 and DeSales 14-7 on May 10, but defeated Centennial 19-1 on May 9 as Ellen Monahan scored four goals.
The Unicorns finished 1-2 in the CCL and 3-4 in the Central Independent League after losing to Hartley 14-13 on May 10.