Arria Minor cruised beyond the white finish line and slowed but did not stop. She staggered on to the nearest corner she could find and went down on her knees and hands to the rubber track while taking deep breaths. A black Nike headband held her hair back while she searched for oxygen like gold, though the former comes rare in Gunnison's 7,717 feet of elevation.
The Denver East senior had just torched the field in the 400 in a meet record in 56.10, which was also a Mountaineer Field House Record, a venue of which hosted the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) championships just a few years ago.
For a moment onlookers couldn't tell is she was about to puke or pass out, but fortunately neither happened.
"I've never felt a pain like that," Minor admitted. "My chest was burning..."
But true to the competitor that Minor is, she rallied an hour later for the 200 and lit up the track once again.
Minor shot out the blocks and sprinted around the bright red track with powerful, business-like strides. She cruised on at at dizzying speeds, passing stagnant spectators like a speeding car in the left lane. Just as she had over an hour earlier, she made quick work of her time on the track, and when she crossed the finish line in 23.78 she had another meet record, field house record, and the No. 6 time in the country - behind her own 23.70.
When she had finally slowed to a trot, and the meet had run its course, Minor had two field house records, and once again run some of the best times in the country.
And for the cherry on top: it was her 18th birthday.
While Minor was a major highlight at the Western State High School Indoor Open, we also caught a glimpse of the next four years of Colorado sprint supremacy on the boy's side of the competition.
Next Page: Introducing Gavin Sawchuk...