BLOOMINGTON — It truly was Destiny.
Lake Central senior Destiny Washington, celebrating her 18th birthday Friday, gave herself a gift she won't soon forget, winning the 100-meter hurdles in a meet record time of 13.93 seconds in the state finals at Indiana University.
"To finish my senior year off with a win is definitely icing on the cake," Washington said. "I just wanted to survive and advance to the finals so my family could see me run. I wasn't expecting to win. I'm still in shock."
Washington won her heat in the prelims to advance.
Washington may have edged Brebeuf's Nakita Turner-Lee by virtue of a hard lean at the finish that caused her to tumble to the track. As she got to her feet, she wasn't sure of the outcome.
"I really, really, really wanted to win and I'm glad I was able to push through and lean at the finish line," she said. "I knew I had previously run 14 flat, so 13 was coming soon. I just didn't know it would be at the state meet. I was extremely relaxed. Relaxation was the key. I had a lot of family here and they weren't expecting anything of me but to do my best."
A scholarship may be a belated gift that results from the victory. Washington wants to hurdle in college, where she plans to major in business and minor in fashion, but she came into the meet with no offers.
Nobody was more surprised at the finish line of the 800 than Crown Point's Maddie Russin, who picked off four runners in the final 30 meters to take the title in stunning fashion, edging Pike's Elizabeth Stanhope, 2:12.35 to 2:12.40.
"Honestly, I was shocked. I started crying," Russin said. "I thought I was going to get fifth. That 's what I was going for. I didn't think I could stay up there. My fastest time was only 2:15. Last year, I won the slow heat but this is a completely different feeling."
Russin has a great kick but it doesn't typically show because she's not usually chasing people.
"Oh my gosh, it was crazy," she said. "I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, they're slowing down. Oh my gosh, I'm speeding up.'"
Valparaiso pole vaulter Brittney Clark capped her prep career with a runner-up finish, clearing 12 feet.
"Amazing," said Clark, who will vault for the University of Indianapolis. "I wanted to at least get 12. I was super close (at 12-3). It made me angry. It was my last high school meet. I just wanted to have fun. I was more relaxed than last year. There was still pressure, but it wasn't as bad. I'm more excited about next year to work with girls at the same level."
And to think Clark wasn't even planning on being involved in the sport when she was a freshman and doing gymnastics.
"I was peer pressured by other gymnasts," said Clark, who then gave up gymnastics.
Vikings teammate Ava Gilliana was a close second to Carmel's Phoebe Bates in the 1,600 at 4:52.54. Bates crossed in 4:51.79.
"I'm at the height of my training physically, but it's also 50 percent mental," Gilliana said. "That's been helping me the whole season. I've been able to execute the mental part, believe in myself that I can accomplish great things. It was practically like a dead sprint, it felt like the last 500 and I'm like, 'OK, I've come this far, I need to go.' It was anybody's race but I had to also think it's my race. I deserve this."
The Vikings finished eighth, the best showing among area teams. Hamilton Southeastern was team champion.