Saving the greatest race of her life for exactly the right time, Springville sophomore Nia Howard accomplished what she hoped she someday would.
Thursday, May 20, was the time and Drake Stadium proved to be the place as Howard blazed to a runner-up showing in the class 1A state 400-meter dash event in Des Moines.
“Nia used a strong finish to go from fifth at the final turn to runner-up,” said Oriole girls track coach Steve Pershing. “Her time of 59.94-seconds was a personal-best, too.”
Howard was phenomenal posting the first-ever sub-minute clocking of her career and trailed only state champion Rachel Fehr, of West Bend-Mallard, who crossed the finish line in 58.12.
“The winner of the 400 was amazing,” Howard said. “She was so fast, she pushed me so much I just kept fighting trying to catch her and that’s how I was able to get my first sub-minute time. I was hoping it would come at some time, I guess the state meet was a good place for it to happen.”
Howard was on the track earlier in the day taking part in the state 200-meter dash where she placed fifth in her heat and 11th overall in class 1A after crossing the finish line with a time of 27.23.
“I thought I ran a pretty good race and I even had a PR,” Howard said. “Once I finished, I realized I was close to making it to the 200 finals and knew I could have run harder, but honestly I was just happy I made it to state in the 200. Hopefully I can come back here next year and keep improving in both events.”
Fehr also claimed the 200-meter dash state title posting a time of 26.15 in the finals Saturday, May 22.