Track blood races through Ballocks
Sisters follow mother’s footsteps to state championship meet
For LaDonna Ballock it was all the same, but a lot different.
In the past, the Eudora resident was a participant in the state track and field championships, but at this year's meet her role was limited to that of a very interested spectator.
Ballock's two daughters, Megan and Emily, both had spectacular days at the 2005 state meet, and their mother was there to cheer them on.
"I'd like to think that they can't race without me cheering them on," the proud mother joked, "but of course they can't hear a word I say."
In fact the only words the girls can hear, other than the scorekeeper over the loudspeaker, are each other's.
The Ballock sisters, who have been running in track since middle school, headed to Wichita after both had seasons to remember for the Eudora High School track team.
Each had records and numbers that would constitute a successful season, but it was the experience at state that capped off the year.
"It was cool being there with Emily," Megan said. "I'd been to state before, but this time it was really nice."
Each sister had to run individual events on the final day of the meet. But for both, it was the opportunity to run together that proved to be most eventful.
Young sister Emily was asked to replace fellow runner Johanna Rahmqvist on the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relay teams.
As luck would have it, things lined up just right for the sisters.
In the 3,200, Emily ran the third lap of the race, and as she turned the corner she saw older sister Megan ready for the baton.
"It was such a great experience to hand off to Megan," Emily said. "We all worked so hard for the race, and that was just a great part of it."
Later in the day, the tables were turned in the 3,200 where it was Megan's turn to hand off to little sister.
"It's exciting being on a team like that," Megan said. "It is just even more exciting to have my sister there."
The sisters helped the relay team, which included Lauren Colman, Brittney Graff and Cara Seats capture two fourth-place finishes at the meet.
And with no coaches allowed on the field at the state meet, it was even nicer that the girls were able to compete together.
"After each event, we would call out to each other," Megan said. "We would find each other and talk about what had just happened."
However, the togetherness ended later in the day when the sisters were forced to root for each other as spectators.
The individual events saw the Ballock sisters perform at a tremendous level, while each looked on.
Megan took a fourth-place finish in the 400, while Emily captured Eudora's only first-place medal with a victory in the 300 hurdles.
That first-place medal was exciting for Emily, but it was even more so for older sister Megan.
"I was really excited for Emily," Megan said. "It was such a great moment for her and for the team."
And hopefully the two will be able to repeat these moments in Wichita, as next year will be Megan's senior year.
But for at least one weekend in May, LaDonna Ballock, along with the girls' grandmother, cheered on her track and field daughters -- whether they heard her or not.