Olivia Smith saw what had to be done. At just a couple steps in front of her, that part wasn't difficult, but accomplishing it would take a bit of effort.
Luckily for her, she had plenty of that.
The Calvert senior raced past Coldwater junior Kierstin Siefring over the final 30 meters Saturday to capture the 16th and final individual state berth at the Division III regional meet at Hedges-Boyer Park.
Moving up one spot to state was all that mattered as the end neared, Smith said.
"The 400 mark, I was in 17th place and I knew I had to get that girl if I wanted my season to go on," she said.
"It was a do or die situation. I turned the corner, the wind's coming right at ya, and one girl came up right on my shoulder, and so right there we were tied for 17th," Smith said. "My mind was on that girl in front of me, the finish line; I wanted to get her. I'm not ready for my season to end. I'm glad I can get another week."
Her season concludes Saturday at the state meet at National Trail Raceway in Hebron after she finished the regional in 20:05, just 46-hundredths of a second ahead of Siefring.
"It's a great feeling. I'm just really glad I get to go for one more week," Smith said. "I really just owe it all to my teammates and my coaches."
She's the only area girl who will run at state, as no other local runners finished in the top 16 and no area team finished in the top four.
Mohawk had the best team finish, taking 10th with 267 points.
"We were fighting for that fourth spot. I think if could have had 4 and 5 where we normally have 'em, we would have been right there. But that happens," Mohawk coach Brock Cleveland said. "The key about this time of the year is getting everybody to run well at the same time, and we weren't able to do that today. We had three up there, and we just needed to pull 4 and 5 a little closer; it wasn't happening today."
Freshman Shauna Leeth's 31st (20:39.16) paced Mohawk, and classmate McKenzie Richardson took 52nd (21:27.29).
All of the Warriors return next fall, and Cleveland said he feels this year's regional should help with next season's effort.
"For most of them, this was a learning opportunity; in fact, for all of them. Even the juniors that ran this year, none of them had run in a regional race before, so this was all new for all of them," he said "It's just about the way people respond. You hope everybody responds well, and unfortunately it didn't happen."
Meanwhile, Hopewell-Loudon came in 14th (329) and St. Wendelin ended 16th (376).
Leah Reinhart gave H-L a 49th (21:25.82) and Lizzie Erlanger claimed 76th (21:55.34). St. Wendelin got a 63rd from Victoria Volpe (21:49.25) and a 94th from Sara Goddard (22:31.95).
Like Smith, three other area girls competed as individuals in the Division III race, but none of them advanced.
Lakota's Cariss Reese ran 21st (20:19.98), Carey's Jaclyn Troiano took 37th (21:00.16) and Old Fort's Kayla Garza came in 71st (21:51.38).
Columbian's Derra Cheatham suffered the same fate in the Division I race.
The freshman finished 72nd in 20:49.79 in what coach Nikki Hintze said was far from a disappointment.
"To get here as a freshman and run those kind of times as a freshman is a great accomplishment. I know she's not as happy as she would be if would have finished different, but she has absolutely nothing to be ashamed about," Hintze said. "She ran a great race.
"She did exactly what she had to do. She went sub-6 for a first mile, she stayed with the front pack and held on like she knew she had to," she said. "For a freshman, she did an amazing job."