Ballock lackluster at Kansas Relays
After looking forward to the meet all year, senior Emily Ballock struggled in her final high school appearance at the Kansas Relays. Ballock placed ninth in the 400-meter dash preliminaries one spot shy of qualifying for the finals finished fourth in the 300 hurdles and withdrew from the 100 hurdles.
Still, Ballock is trying to take an optimistic view on her performance.
"Not all races are going to be your best ones and you have to bounce back from them, even though you want to run your best at the big meets," she said.
Ballock's first race was the 400 early Friday morning, and even though she finished second in her heat, she knew it wasn't as good as she could have run.
"I feel like I had a good start and I was in good position, but coming out of that second curve I kind of tightened up and didn't have a good last 100," Ballock said.
That little tightness cost Ballock precious tenths of a second, which ended up being the difference between another 'oh, so close' performance and a trip to the finals. Senior Racquel Powell of Raytown South nabbed the eighth and final trip to the finals with a time of 59.24 seconds while Ballock came around in 59.67, placing her ninth.
At the 2007 Kansas Relays, Ballock was also left on the outside looking in on the 400 finals. She turned in a better time 58.84 but it was only good enough for 10th, two places and .19 seconds behind Powell, who placed eighth last year as well.
"It's almost easier to be back a couple instead of being just one shy," Ballock said. "Both of them stink because you don't make the finals, but I think it's easier to be back farther because you know you had to pass a couple girls instead of just one."
Ballock tried to shake off her disappointment from the 400 quickly because around 3 p.m. Friday she had to get back on the track to try and defend her title in the 300 hurdles.
In the race she'd been looking forward to all season, Ballock again failed to get into her groove and finished fourth with a time of 45.61.
"I thought I ran really horribly," she said. "I was off in the beginning, I didn't feel good in the race and I ran my slowest time of the year. Those other girls were good, but I feel if I would have ran what I was capable of I would have been ahead of them.
"I was really disappointed with that race and just bummed about it."
Ballock said she took too many steps out of the blocks and it affected her timing throughout the race.
After her disappointing performances on Friday, Ballock and coach Phil Katzenmeier got together and decided not to compete in Saturday's 100 hurdles. The time off allowed Ballock to enjoy Eudora's prom Saturday afternoon and to prepare for the rescheduled Cardinal Relays Monday evening.
All in all, Ballock described her three years as a prep at the Kansas Relays as a "great experience," and she looks forward to returning as a member of the Wichita State University team.
"It will be cool coming back next year because my friends and my family can come and watch," Ballock said. "It will be sort of a home meet for me."