Taylor James took giant strides that ate up precious amounts of blue track inside the Cadet Field House. Her arms swayed in mechanical precision while her tight blonde ponytail danced behind her. The Niwot sophomore eyed the empty space in front of her, seeming not to mind of anyone behind her.
She was on a mission.
James cruised through the middle meters of the 400 around the loose turn on top of the track without a shadow in sight. She ran within herself in a tranquil daze while the world outside cheered her on. But all that mattered was the moment, this moment.
A day earlier she tore through the 800 at the Let's Get REAL Invite in a state-leading 2:18, and despite the effort she was burning up the track once again, this time in the 400.
James powered through the final turn and into the straightaway for the last time. Her competition was only herself, and the clock that ticked onwards toward that 55.34 meet record. The anxiety inside the Cadet Field House crescendoed as James neared the finish.
With that burn in the legs and the lungs that accompanies a true effort in the distance sprint, James had pain written all over her face, and with good reason. She crossed the line in a personal best of 55.81, just off the meet record, and the No. 2 time in Colorado this season.
After staggering a few steps while catching her breath in the thin 7,200-foot air she cracked a smile in satisfaction.
James, who has gone 2:13 in the 800, 5:10 in the mile, 17:37 in the 5k, and 5-8.25 in the high jump, just added another useful tool to her rapidly growing belt - a 55-second 400.
Her performance was just one of a handful jaw-dropping moments at the 2019 Air Force High School Indoor Open over the weekend.
We've got a ton of photos coming, and video footage of nearly every track event from the weekend. Just please be a little patient as we continue to load all of this content to the site.
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