Huston medals in last event
On the first part of the final straightaway of the 3,200-meter race, Xavier Prep junior Shelby Brown passed Cibola senior Monica Huston for fourth place – potentially pushing Huston out of a chance to medal in her last race for the Raiders.
But the competitive senior bounced back and pushed ahead, getting another medal at the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I Track and Field State Championship on Saturday at Mesa Community College.
And with that last push, she found herself on the podium once again.
“That was actually going through my mind,” Huston said about possibly falling to fifth. “Shelby was right behind me on the mile, so I knew she was a contender. I had that last kick and went into lane two and kicked and went as hard as I could so I could be on the medal stand one last time.”
Cibola distance coach Kris Norton wasn't totally worried when he saw Huston get passed late. He's seen her run too well in too many track events and cross country meets to think she didn't have another gear on the home stretch.
“I've seen her so many times come back around and take it back,” Norton said. “I just said, ‘Okay, let's wait.' I was expecting for it and hoping for it, but there's still that anxiety.”
For Cibola track coach Brett Pavey, the final kick on the final stretch was emblematic of Huston's four years with the Raiders.
“Obviously you don't want to see it, but one thing that's always been consistent with her is as nice and polite of a kid that she is, she's the fiercest competitor out there,” he said. “She's got a heck of a kick and we've seen it time and time again, and sure enough, there it was.”
The fourth-place finish ends another medal-heavy state meet for Huston, who plans to attend Brigham Young University and possibly room with Kirsti Rush, the third-place finisher from Highland. She said there is a bittersweet feeling that comes with ending her time at Cibola and preparing for running on the collegiate level.
“I'm really excited about moving on,” Huston said. “I'm excited to have all those learning experiences; it's like a new start.”
Huston took second place in the 800 and the 1,600 during the finals on Wednesday.
Coming into Saturday, she knew what was waiting for her on the final individual race of the night – the longest race of the entire meet.
“I was really looking forward and really dreading this race because it's my last state race and it's the 3,200 – which is the hardest race in track for me,” Huston said. “But it was on an awesome end.”
Huston's career at Cibola may be over, but she will race in the Meet of Champions next week.
“We got some more races but the chances at a state title, those are done,” Norton said. “We've got a few more races, and we'd like to get a little faster.”
Huston was also a part of the Raiders' 3,200 relay – along with Yocelyn Walle, Ally Jeffers and Autumn Amidon – that finished 17th with a time of 10:17.94.
Also for the Cibola girls, junior Baylee Lakey didn't have the performance she wanted in the discus, finishing 14th with a throw of 105 feet, 10 inches.
Lakey, who dominated the area in both the discus and shot put, came into the state meet with a seeded mark of 117-4.
“I was tip-toeing through the ring. I wasn't nervous, I just didn't use the right form,” Lakey said. “I'm really upset but I have next year, and I had a really good season. I just wish I could have done a little more.”