River High School 2013 graduate Cassidy McCullough won her second straight 300-meter hurdles at the Division III State Track and Field Championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University this past weekend.
The former Lady Pilot, who graduated this year, was seeded second and, after Friday's qualifying run, she still had the second fastest time in the 300-meter low hurdles in the finals.
The West Virginia Wesleyan-bound McCullough, who was dialed in and focused after placing sixth in the 100 meters at (12.60), responded in a big way in the 300-meter finals. Exploding out of the blocks, she would seize control of the race early and basically ran away from the other eight competitors en route to repeat as the Division III champion with a 43.27 time, more than a full second in front of her nearest competitor.
"Honestly, I think (the feeling) is even better the second time," McCullough said beaming with her gold medal around her neck.
On top of winning the gold, McCullough achieved another personal goal on her last try. Her time is a personal best and the first time she dipped under the 44-second barrier.
"I thought if I don't get this today, I'm never going to have the opportunity again," McCullough said. "I didn't know it until they told me (in the tent before awards) my time. I thought, 'oh wow!' Maybe if I pushed a little bit harder, I could have gotten into the 42s.
"I was very nervous," McCullough admitted. "Actually, it might have been the most nervous I've been in my four years. It kind of hit me hard that I didn't have that top seed, so I just knew I'd have to work even harder."
This also marked the second consecutive season that McCullough placed in two events at the state meet. She was a high hurdle placer in 2012.
"I am pretty satisfied with my career and proud of what I've accomplished," McCullough said. "I am hopeful I can continue to improve and do well in college."
In regional action, the Lady Pilots placed sixth. The 4x800 team of Becka Stewart, Landyn Ramsay, Makenna Collins, and Laken Ramsay finished 12th, while Devyn Potts finished 14th in the 100 meter hurdles. McCullough was runner-up in the 100 meter dash, while Abby Caldwell finished eighth.
Their 4x200 team of Jessica Karpacs, Potts, Tiffany Brown, and Caldwell finished 12th. In the 300 meter hurdles McCullough won, while Potts placed eighth. McCullough won the 200 meter dash, while Caldwell placed sixth.
The 4x400 meter relay team of Stewart, Potts, Karpacs, and Caldwell finished 10th. Courtney Imhoff was 15th in the high jump, while McCullough was seventh in the long jump.
McCullough advanced to the state meet in the 100 and 200 meter dash; and of course the 300 meter hurdles.