PBHS freshman wins three golds at state meet
She did it for Kylie.
After taking first in the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter dashes this past weekend at the state track and field meet, Peabody-Burns High School freshman Lauren Pickens wasn't standing alone on the first-place medal stand.
Pickens' classmate Kylie Terronez was killed in a car accident May 18, and unfortunately she missed the funeral while competing.
But she felt her friend's presence.
"It felt really good," Pickens said of the three gold medals. "But at the same time you lose a best friend. It means the world for me to give that to her."
The Warriors competing at the meet wore black ribbons in remembrance of their friend.
Pickens earned 30 points, teammate Danielle Savage earned one for her seventh-place finish in the 400, as the two helped PBHS to a sixth-place tie overall.
Running with a heavy heart didn't slow down Pickens who was first in the 200 and 400 prelims, and second in the 100.
She finished behind Whitney Taylor of Ellis High School in the 100 prelims, but came back to defeat her in the finals. Her winning time of 12.22 seconds was just .12 seconds behind a 10-year-old 2A state record.
"Whitney gave me a run for my money," Pickens said. "She told me that was the first competition she had all year."
Taylor was the first competition for Pickens all year as well. And as good as the freshman has been, she even surprised herself.
"I was not expecting to take all three of them," Pickens said. "I never thought I was going to get them."
But she did despite being in awe of the crowd at Cessna Stadium that was in the thousands.
"I had to tell myself it was the same track, the same everything," Pickens said.
But it was not the same as the regular season, yet the sprinter still excelled as she had all year.
And Pickens sent most of her praise toward her head coach Shawna McCartney who has coached her in track and other sports for 12 years.
"She is one of the best coaches I have ever had," Pickens said.
Two days later the excitement of the state meet is still apparent in Pickens' voice. But as she talked about her record-setting performance, her voice also carried a hint of sadness.
"I didn't do it just for me. I did it for her," Pickens said.
She did it for Kylie.