MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Regardless of how much ground the Baylor School girls covered over the course of the Division II state track meet's 18 events Thursday, it paled in comparison to coach Bill McMahan's constant pacing.
As the athletes took their place to begin the 4x400, the final event of the night, Baylor already had secured its fourth consecutive team state championship. And McMahan finally was able to stop pacing nervously by himself.
"This is the first time all season that I will be able to just stand here and enjoy a race," McMahan said. "I've worried about GPS all season because I knew how tough they would be by this time of year. But we had so many girls contribute, and I never dreamed we would have actually taken the points lead in the field events."
Baylor's win in the 4x400 capped an impressive day, giving the Lady Red Raiders 134.5 total points to GPS's second-place 95.
While the Lady Raiders won just three events Thursday, their overall scoring depth gave them the lead before the running events began. Once the meet switched from field events to the track, Baylor had a decided edge, with Rebecca Greenwall and Hannah Jumper finishing one-two in the 800 meters and Jumper also winning the 1600.
After finishing third in the pentathlon Monday, senior Sally Warm was second in the triple jump, third in the long jump and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles. She set school records in the triple jump and long jump.
"Sally is an example of the type kid who helped us win it this year," McMahan said. "She scored a lot of points for us by finishing strong in several events, and that's what it takes. You can't always just dominate the most events, and this time we won it by having a lot of kids score points."
GPS's Tory Kemp won the triple jump and was second in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump, and teammate Simone Busby was second in both the discus and shot put.
Before the high jump and pole vault, Baylor trailed GPS 51-34. After those two events, the Lady Raiders led by 5.5 points and never looked back.
"We have a lot of people who are willing to sacrifice individual success for team points, and that makes this pretty special," Warm said. "Coach McMahan thinks he hides his nervousness, but he got up from dinner last night about eight times just to walk around, and there were several times when we would look for him and he would be over by himself pacing.
"This is a great way for our 13 seniors to go out, winning four in a row."