Robinson sophomore Genamarie McCant sat on a bleacher huffing and puffing out tired breaths following her victory in the girls' 400-meter dash at the Leslie Sherman Memorial Invitational on April 1 at West Springfield.
She finished first in the first heat of runners, which featured many of the area's best sprinters, but McCant was more focused on her overall time than her finishing position.
"I don't know my time, so I don't know how I did," she said.
McCant knew she finished first in the fastest heat of the race, meaning it would take an unlikely run from the second and third heats to beat her, but her goals are beyond finishing first.
"I've trained really hard," she said. "But I'm trying to get down to a 55- or 54-second range. If I run a 59, then I need to get my head in the right direction."
Her final time came in: 58.75 seconds.
It's wasn’t quite the time McCant had hoped for, but it did display her total domination of the track in the 400-meter dash. The second place finisher, Edison's Toni Duvall, crossed the finish line at 1:02.83.
Coming within four seconds of her goal isn't a bad way to start the 2010 outdoor track season. Like many athletes in attendance, McCant used the Leslie Sherman Memorial Invitational as a benchmark for the season.
"I was trying to get out there and see what I could do," she said. "I wanted to see how good a shape I was in. Then I could try to do better next meet."
Senior hurdler J.W. Seo used the meet not only as a benchmark, but also to test his conditioning.
"I've been in shape because of the indoor track season," he said. "So I felt pretty good today."
While Seo's body held up during the 300-meter hurdle race, he noted his fifth place time of 42.18 needs improvement as well as his race technique.
At the end of the race, near the 200-meter mark, Seo said he felt fatigued and had trouble with the remaining hurdles.
"You get tired and it becomes hard to see the hurdles," he said. "They get a bit blurry."
Despite a disappointing finish, Seo said he knew that plenty of time remained before the district and regional meets to improve.
"It's just the beginning of the season," he said. "Hopefully, I'll get a better time next meet."
Lake Braddock senior Megan Bumgarner is another hurdler who hoped to set new goals by competing in the spring break meet.
Bumgarner finished first in the girls' 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.79. She took second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 48.02.
"I didn't have anything to base my times off this season," Bumgarner said. "So, I was just trying to get a good mark to work from. Now I know where to go from here."
The meet wasn’t just a testing ground for runners, for Lake Braddock's Matt Hoogland it was a chance to compete in a new event.
Hoogland is best known for his pole vaulting ability, but the senior had a rare race in the 300-meter hurdles.
"I haven't really been working much with the hurdles," he said.
Hoogland finished fourth with a time of 42.07, but the reigning Northern Region indoor pole vault champion said he's expecting to see more action in the hurdles.
"I think I'll be doing more hurdles this season," he said. "It's one of my favorite events along with the long jump, triple jump and pole vault."