Michaela Moore waited anxiously as Claire Ross prepared to hand her the baton for the anchor leg of the 400-meter relay Saturday at the Harrison Panther Invitational at Memorial Stadium.
Her nervousness increased when she saw Air Academy's team get a head start on the final 100 meters.
Now that the Cheyenne Mountain senior has seemingly conquered a long bout of tendinitis in her left foot, she can let it all hang out, and she proved it by making up a deficit and then some in helping the Indians claim victory in the sprint relay.
Earlier in the day, Moore took first in the 100, also edging an Air Academy runner.
"I love the sprint relay," Moore said. "I have a serious passion for chasing people down in relays. It feels a lot easier because you have a teammate behind you and yelling at you to go."
It wasn't as joyful a mood for Moore at this time last year when she sought to gut out a misdiagnosed form of tendinitis, and it nagged her all season. She ended up sixth in the 100 at the 4A state meet and didn't even qualify for the finals in the 200, an event she nearly won Saturday, but was beaten out for the top spot by just .07 seconds.
"Last year, every time I inverted my foot, I'd get this shooting pain," Moore said. "It ended up being tendonitis in my big toe, but after it was treated as plantar fasciitis and they put me in a boot. I'm all recovered from that now. I've gained a lot more power since last year and hope to do better at state."
Although the track season is but two weekends old, Widefield senior Max Martinez feared he might not catch up after taking a week off to rest a chronic Achilles' tendon injury that began to flare up after cross country season.
In the 1,600-meter race Saturday, Martinez trailed after the first three laps but took over late, making everyone else play catch-up en route to the event title.
"Five days off, for a runner, is a big deal," Martinez said. "They say one day off is like three days of training that you need to catch up, and mentally, that can mess with you, too. I think I bounced back pretty well. I was tweaking a few things at the last meet, but this week, I feel like a new car. I just fell into a slow pace, and when he passed me, I knew I had time to make up the ground."