By David Fong
COLUMBUS — Morgan Gigandet’s plan was simple … go out strong, build a big lead and then do her best to try to hold on for a state title.
Midway through the Division I 3,200 race Saturday at the state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium, however, Gigandet abandoned her plan. The big lead never materialized and the Troy High School sophomore ended up in third place.
Hilliard Davidson’s India Johnson, viewed by many as the one Gigandet hoped to hold off late to win the race, won the state title in a blistering 10:29.80. Brunswick freshman Felicia Pasadyn clipped Gigandet at the finish line, taking second in 10:45.60, while Gigandet was third in 10:46.11.
“I definitely wanted to go out early, because I knew some of the other girls could outsprint me,” Gigandet said. “I had a plan, but then I backed out of it. I kind of regret it. Next time, I’ll go with my instincts.”
Gigandet did take the early lead, but never pushed out to the big lead she had hoped for. Johnson was able to stay with in 10 meters through the first half of the race, then pushed ahead and took the lead. Once Gigandet lost the lead, she was never able to rebound and seriously challenge Johnson.
“I definitely should have stuck to the plan,” Gigandet said. “I just kept on doubting myself.”
The decision to abandon the plan was one of several things swirling around Gigandet that seemed to throw her off her rhythm Saturday. A 90-minute lightning delay, the rainy and humid weather and even the JumboTron scoreboard positioned at one end of the stadium seemed to throw Gigandet off her game.
“I didn’t like the delay at all,” she said. “That really bothered me. Then it got so humid, which I hate. I was really nervous for this race. I was so nervous. I didn’t feel good at all. I felt like I was holding my arms too high when I was running. And the giant screen at the end of the track bothered me, too. I felt like I was getting dizzy every time I looked up at it. It just wasn’t my day.”
Still, though, Gigandet was pleased with her performance. Last year as a freshman, she finished seventh in the race.
“I’m really happy,” she said. “I felt like I did good. Moving up from seventh place to third place is pretty good.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong
Troy’s Morgan Gigandet leads Hilliard Davidson’s India Johnson during the girls 3,200 at the Division I state track meet Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Troy’s Morgan Gigandet and Hilliard Davidson’s India Johnson compete in the girls 3,200 at the Division I state track meet Saturday in Columbus.
Troy’s Morgan Gigandet runs the girls 3,200 at the Division I state track meet Saturday in Columbus.