Katie May achieved her goal of reaching Murfreesboro as a sophomore. Now her sights are set on a return.
One of two track athletes from Elizabethton High School to compete in last week’s TSSAA Class A-AA track meet at Middle Tennessee State University, May registered an eighth-place finish in the girls 300 hurdles event.
“I was just really happy to be there and pretty proud of myself to make it there as a sophomore,” May said Wednesday.
May was one of three participants from the region in her event, joining West Greene’s Jenna Shaw and Mary Ann Murphy, with whom she had competed against throughout the year.
Her status was unknown after a third-place finish behind the duo in the Class A-AA East Sectional, but her time was good enough that she had a shot at reaching the event as one of two wild cards.
When track athletes in West Tennessee delivered their sectional results, the Lady Cyclone was given some good news.
“It was really exciting,” said May. “I didn’t know if I was going to make it down there as a wild card. “
The experience itself was surreal for May. One of just two sophomores to reach her particular event, she entered with a top-five qualifying time and appeared to be in line for a top finish.
“I was really nervous, even warming up and everything I was kind of freaking out,” May said. “I was talking to (Elizabethton coach Craig) Emmert and he calmed me down and made me feel better. At the start was really when it sank in.”
May got out to a good start during her race, but she injured her ankle in the midst of the race and was shuffled back to an eighth-place finish.
“I twisted my ankle during the race,” she said. “I don’t even know what happened to it. It kind of gave out and I was kind of disappointed about that, but I still ran a pretty decent time I think”
While the run wasn’t what she had hoped for, the bright spot was a time of 50.92 seconds that was less than a tenth of a second removed from a top-five placement.
Injury and all, May knows she belonged among the state’s best. Although she didn’t walk away with a gold, silver or bronze medal, the experience in itself was enough to motivate the Lady Cyclone to work harder this summer to get back and take another shot at the state’s best.
This summer May is competing in the AAU track circuit as a member of the Slipstream Track and Field club, which is headed by prep and collegiate track event timer Brian Buckner.
She says her eventual goal is to go to Murfreesboro in the triple jump, 100 hurdles and possibly the pentathlon, which she has dedicated herself to working at throughout the summer.
“It’s really tough,” May said. “There’s a lot of really good athletes that practice it year round. You can really tell they specialize in their events. It’s great practice.”
May was also member of the Elizabethton 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams this year. The 4×400 team, which consisted of three sophomores and a freshman, were five seconds removed from a wild card berth and figure to have a shot next year.
When all is said and done, May could potentially be battling for multiple medals in the near future.
Her key event, however, will be the 300-meter hurdles where she made big strides during the season against Shaw and Murphy, who claimed the Class A-AA champion and runner-up medals in Murfreesboro.
“They always pushed me at every meet to run a faster and better time,” May said. “I honestly think that’s why — at a bunch of those meets — I kept improving and improving until I started running down in the 49’s.
“Especially since they are seniors and won’t be there next year, I feel like I have a really good shot at going back next year and doing even better.”
Hard work pays off and, with hard work, Katie May is hoping her next track goal is within reach.