Emily Grahl had a record-breaking performance on her way to claiming all-state honors during the MSHSAA track and field championships at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.
Grahl, who just completed her junior year at Borgia, placed fifth in the Class 3 girls 800-meter run with a time in the finals of 2:16.36.
The top eight finishers in each event earned state medals.
“I got ninth place last year in the 800, so that was disappointing,” Grahl said. “My main goal this year was just to medal, especially after getting ninth last year. I just wanted to come back and medal this year.”
Grahl was determined to reach the finals, which guaranteed her a state medal.
During the preliminaries of the 800-meter run, Grahl broke the Borgia school record, running a time of 2:15.79.
“That preliminary was one of the best races I’ve ever seen,” said Borgia Coach Mitch Figas. “I knew coming in fresh, Emily had a big race in her, and boy did she deliver.”
Grahl executed in the preliminary of the two-lap race.
“Coach Figas had a very good plan for me,” Grahl said. “I feel like I executed it, for the most part, so that helped a lot.”
Grahl had another solid performance the next day in the finals.
“I knew we were going to go fast and that’s exactly how we started. I don’t know what time we came through on the first lap, but it felt so fast,” Grahl said. “I felt pretty good during the race. My legs normally start to hurt around 200. I always say to my coaches that I would like to go faster so I can get it over with. I was one second slower in the finals than the preliminaries. I was hoping to go faster.”
Figas said Grahl finished the race strong.
“In the finals, Emily came off the first turn with a couple of strides on the field. I told her to back off and now, looking back, wonder if that was the right decision,” Figas said. “She races very good when she is aggressive. I thought she was done with 300 (meters) to go, but she fought back and had a nice finish.”
A three-time state qualifier, Grahl won her second career all-state medal. She was a member of last season’s Lady Knights’ 3,200-meter relay team that placed fifth.
Grahl also qualified for the state meet this season in the 1,600-meter run, but dropped out of the event.
“We knew we wanted to have our legs for this one (800-meter run), so we decided to save them and drop out of the mile,” Grahl explained.
The spring season is a busy one for Grahl, who not only runs track, but also is a key player on the Borgia girls soccer team.
She said juggling the two sports isn’t an issue.
“It’s not a hard thing for me to do,” Grahl said. “Track is really just something for me to get in shape and I have fun with it. I like them both, so it’s fine.”
Grahl also plays basketball at Borgia, and she’s thinking about getting involved in a fall sport for her senior year.
“I might run cross country next fall, we’ll see,” she said. “I’m usually pretty busy during the school year. I like it that way.”
Grahl hopes to improve her state showing during her senior year.
“Next year, I definitely want to make it back to state and do better than fifth place,” Grahl said. “I just want to improve on my times. That’s always the goal.”
Figas expects Grahl to shine as a senior.
“Emily reminds me a lot of Mary Nothum (former all-state runner who Figas coached at Washington High School) in that she races very tough and recovers between workouts and races very well,” Figas said. “I think she will do big things next season.”