Perseverance to turn a negative into a positive is one of the hallmarks of a great athlete. Take Sarah Runyon for example.
One year after falling over the last hurdle at the University Interscholastic League State Track Meet, the Argyle High School senior played a key role in her school tying for fifth place in Class 4A this year. The Eagles joined Dallas Carter and Texarkana Liberty Eylau with 29 points each. Canyon won with 70.
“She was an instrumental part of that,” said fifth-year Coach Greg Martin. “As far as her leadership goes, the girls look up to her even more so this year than in previous years. The kind of redemption she wanted this year kind of helped her lead by action and took the whole team through that process.”
Runyon set a personal best and school record with a time of 14.52 seconds to take fourth place in the 100-meter hurdles and ran 46.27 to place sixth in the 300 hurdles. She also ran the first leg of the 400-meter relay that ended seventh with Julia Patterson, Keira Inman, and Trinity Carter following her.
“I think it made me work harder knowing it was my last season,” Runyon said. “It just pushed me harder in practice. I would just go all out. It was a big motivation.
“Over the summer I would do workouts because I was so mad about it. And then this year in my head I told myself I am not going to fall over another hurdle. I was determined not to fall over another hurdle.”
Argyle’s best event was the 800-meter relay which placed second. The 1,600-meter relay ended fourth.
“Give credit to the girls and the assistant coaches,” Martin said. “They played a part in that. It’s not common to get all three relays to state where we performed well. The margin for error first through seventh was extremely close. We continued to capitalize on our speed. The 4 by 1 and 4 by 2 kept breaking school records. That motivated them to get better. And Sarah in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles motivated her to get faster.”
Runyon’s personal best in the 300 was 45.50 in the area meet. She also competed all season in the long jump making it as far as the districts.
“The competition this year was a lot harder than last year in every event,” Runyon said. “I saw some girls I knew from last year and some new faces. They just get better every year.”
Her success in Austin may or may not have culminated in her track career. Her current plan is to go to real estate school in Rockwall this summer to earn her license and join her father Andy in that business. She also will work at her mom Bo’s Runyon Fine Furniture in Roanoke where the 18-year-old grew up around.
But since the state meet, coaches from two small colleges have inquired about her competing for them which has her at least thinking about it.
“It’s kind of been on my mind to run in college,” she said. “I had a plan set for what I wanted to do but I really like running. It’s in my head.”
Runyon started her track career in seventh grade at the request of former Argyle Middle School coach David Peddy. Knowing of her background in cheerleading – including one year competitively in Southlake – he encouraged her to try hurdles.
“There were multiple times where I wanted to quit and he was like ‘you are not quitting,’ ” she said. “It was hard and just a mindset thing. He’s the one who made me like it.”
Five years later, Runyon finds it hard to believe she is done with high school after graduating on May 19.
“I think it was pretty cool though it hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Sarah who has two older sisters – Savannah and Sadie and a younger brother Lane. “Once everyone moves away to college or doing their own thing I think it will hit everyone.”