It's a little surprising a team state title was absent from the Bishop Carroll girls' track and field record book.
The Eagles are annual favorites during league and regional meets, but had never had the balance to win at the state level.
Carroll found the right balance this year, though, using its strength in the distance races and the hurdles to win the Class 5A championship with 79 1/2 points. Gardner-Edgerton finished 12 points behind.
"It's really cool to be the first ones in school history to win it, especially since we won cross country this year, too," said Katherine Dillard, who played an influential role in winning. "This is really special."
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No one could match Carroll's top-end talent, as it placed in the top three nine times. Carroll had three event winners: Cara Detmer (pole vault), Kristen Powell (300-meter hurdles) and the 3200 relay.
The defining moment of the title came in the 300 hurdles, in which Carroll placed its three runners in the top six.
Drama unfolded when Shawnee Heights' Cassidy Downing, who had the fastest qualifying time, clipped a hurdle and tumbled, also taking out Carroll's Magie Seiler in the process.
"I went over my hurdle and then she was just there," Seiler said. "But it's not my philosophy to stop. I fell at regionals and got back up. It's my senior year and last race. I had to finish with dignity and get it done."
It proved vital. Seiler finished in sixth place to score two points. Teammate Brady Nordhus placed fourth.
"That was big," Carroll coach Ran Nielsen said. "Those guys have been doing it all season."
It was the final momentum swing Carroll needed to secure the team title from Gardner-Edgerton. The Eagles were a point behind before the race, but exited with a nine-point lead.
"I knew that it was really crucial," said Powell, who also took second in the 100 hurdles. "I knew we were in the team race, so I had to come through.
"Once you're tired, you have to make sure you don't stutter right before the hurdle because that really slows you down. You have to keep your knee drive."
The other dramatic moment came in the 3200 relay, where Dillard ran down St. Thomas Aquinas in the last 100 meters to win in a time of 9 minutes, 46.06 seconds.
"We didn't know we could do that," said Dillard, referring to the 19-second improvement on the team's fastest time this season. "It was kind of like I was in disbelief at first, I didn't think it was going to happen.
"I guess you can do anything at state, though."
Dillard, Powell, Seiler and Nordhus also made up the 1600 relay team that placed third to lock up the title. Kaelyn Balch was also a major contributor, scoring 14 points in the 1600 and 3200 races.
"It means a lot because all of our girls have been working so hard," Balch said. "It feels really good now that it has all paid off."
And the Eagles are still maturing. Only two seniors, Detmer and Seiler, scored points at the state meet. The rest will be back next year to defend their title.
"Watching the program develop the way it has and watching some of these girls mature, it's been really special," Seiler said. "We've had a really tight group all year and now we're state champions. It's unbelievable."