Margo Hornocker Fights Her Way To Fourth Place Finish At State Meet

Posted on June 4, 2017 in Girl's Track, Spring Sports

by Scott Hunt
BLOOMINGTON-Margo Hornocker was scheduled to run 1,600 meters in the 44th annual girls state track and field championship Saturday on the campus of Indiana University.
She covered all 1,600 meters and likely a little more.
But Hornocker saved her best for last, much like she has in earning her way to the championship meet, with her final 200 meters being the strongest in racing her way to a fourth place finish and All-State honors.
Hornocker’s strategy entering Saturday’s state championship mile was simple, get out fast, keep pace with the leaders and use the strength she’s added in the past several months to try and outkick her competitors to the finish line.
There was just a slight problem, the beginning of the race as much resembled the start of the cross country state championship more than any other 1,600   Hornocker ran this season, except for perhaps the Miracle Mile at Franklin Central in April.
Finding herself trailing nearly half the field of 26 runners after just the 100 meters, Hornocker was little nervous but didn’t panic, and the experience of racing at cross country state finals helped her deal with being
surrounded by racers.
“I was a little panicked when I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be, so I was a little nervous about being able to get up there,” Hornocker said. “But once I was up there I felt good and I knew I would have a kick to stay there.”
As the race progressed into the second 400, Hornocker began to work to the outside of the pack, steadily picking off runners in the straightaways and ducking back as low on the track as she could in the turns.
“I knew in my head I was going to have to do that. With about 600 (meters) to go there was like a line of three or four girls in front of me and I was like I’m either going to be right here and wait and not kick as soon as I
should, or just go then,” Hornocker said. “I had to go out in lane three to get around them but if I wouldn’t have done that I don’t think I would have gotten up as soon as I needed to.”
Hornocker found another gear coming to the line for the bell lap. After working her way into the top-10 and also in position to medal, her strength and will went  to another level.
With 200 meters to go she had worked her way up to around seventh and by the time Hornocker reached the front stretch coming to the finish line she found herself in a battle for third and in hot pursuit of the leaders.
Eventually Hornocker simply ran out of track. The smile on her face after the race showed part relief but mostly a sense of accomplishment for all the work she’s put in, and she needed every bit of experience, strength and determination to earn her fourth-place state medal.
“I’m not sure she’ll grasp what she does for our program. What she does for us as coaches,” said Oak Hill coach Paige Brunner, fighting back tears as he talked about Hornocker. “The other athletes, confidence for everybody is boosted because of Margo. I’m damn proud of her and I’m glad she’s a junior.”

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