LAKEWOOD – Fairview’s Marlena Preigh won the Class 5A 800-meter state title as a heavy favorite on Friday but Saturday’s 1,600-meter race was an entirely different story.
In fact, that particular event had haunted her over the past year or so and remained as one of few boxes yet to be checked by the Knights senior before she graduates.
At Jefferson County Stadium, Preigh broke a string of near victories by winning the 5A girls 1,600-meter title with a time of 4 minutes, 59.53 seconds. All it took was a good plan, a gutty effort and a big kick at the end.
“That’s been my goal for a long time,” Preigh said. “I got third sophomore year, which was a total surprise. Then last year, my goal was to win and I kind of took myself out of the running going into the last lap and I got third again. So this year, I just decided no matter what to stick with the leaders and to stay tough through whatever they were going to put me through, then try to kick at the end.
“There were some girls who are definitely stronger aerobically than me in this field, so it was a risk. But I did it. It hurt like hell but I won and I’m over the moon.”
Entering the event as the third overall seed, Preigh trailed top-seeded Cherry Creek freshman Riley Stewart for nearly the entire race only to pass her with less than 200 meters remaining in the race.
Preigh’s teammate Aloha Churchill placed 18th in the 1,600 with a time of 5:19.99. Fairview Gavin Schurr placed seventh in the 5A boys 100-meter dash with a time of 11 seconds even.