We had a yet again another wonderful day of Track and Field at the CCS championships yesterday. The highlight of the day was Anna Mokkapati win in the 3200 meter race (2 mile race). However the story is what makes it so exciting. Let me set the stage.
The weather is perfect, barely any wind, the lights are on and the temperature is cool. It is 8:20 pm and the gun goes off. Anna begins the race in the middle of the pack and it is crowded in the first lap as the top runners come by the first 200 meters in about 37 seconds. It is a solid pace to begin the race. As Anna goes by in the middle of the crowded pack, I yell "perfect." However as the pack moves on the coaches around me and I all notice that one of the runners lost her shoe but nobody can tell whose it is. It is a nice bright reddish shoe but hard to tell whose shoe it might be. The shoe lays quietly in the middle of lane one and one of the coaches runs on to the track and tosses on to the infield.
I say to myself "Please don't let it be Anna's shoe." As the first lap finishes the paces slows a bit and the girls come through the 600 meter mark (1 and 1/2 laps) I realize that Anna is wearing a bright reddish shoe on her right foot but she is only wearing a thick gray running sock on her left. I become despondent and figure it is only a time before she drops out of the race as I have had runners lose shoes in track races and the races haven't ended well. I yell to Anna, perfect and tell her split all the time dreading the fact that if her foot begins to blister and hurt that she might slow down or drop out of the race.
However, the opposite happens, as each lap goes on Anna covers every move the lead girls make and the pace begins to quicken lap by lap. With three laps to go, I know she can win the event and I know she is running fantastic and that the she is ignoring the fact that she lost her shoe. She doesn't care about her foot she is determined to win. With 600 meters to go she begins to move to the front and I frentically yell at her "Ride the wave!" (That was are code phrase we were using to mean "Go for it and try to win the race"). She attacks and begins to pull away from the 3 of the best finishers in CCS and continues to pour on the assualt. With a lap to go she is leading by 2 or 3 seconds, with 1/2 a lap to go, I grab Kevin Johnson, climb the fence and start yelling "She is going to win CCS with 1 shoe!" Kevin Johnson and I go bannanas and she wins the 3200 meters by six seconds with a personal best of 10:47.
After the race she is completely exhausted and winded. I help her off the track and inspect her foot. Her foot is bleeding but not badly and she has a large blood blister under her big toe. She is fine though, after resting for a while and talking to one of the San Jose Mercury reporters she celebrates by running another 2 miles. I finish running her cool down with her and we talk about how crazy the race was and how the race went. The only think she says about winning the actual race though in disbelief, "I won."
Well, I can tell you her race will forever be etched in my mind and I now know to never give up hope when things don't go our way. Anna is a testament to toughness and perserverance. She reminds me bible verses Hebrews 12:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. "Do you not know that those running in a race course, indeed all run, but one receives the prize? Run thus, that you might obtain it."
I want to end this story with saying how grateful I am to be able to coach at The King's Academy, where our athletes can run and strive for the one True thing, and that is to serve our Servant King, Jesus Christ.
Other incredible highlights from the meet.
- Junior Kamau Carlisle - battles in the Long Jump in a loaded field of jumpers and hits the auto-qualifying mark (22' 5") for State meet with a jump of 22' 8" feet. He makes the podium at CCS and places 4th overall in the Long Jump. He earns a trip to the CIF State Meet with Anna next week in Clovis CA at Buchannan High School.
- Sophomore Kelaiah Moore - places sixth in a time of 15.51 breaking her own school record by .28 seconds and and makes the podium at CCS. Last year her personal best was only 19.07. She improved over 4 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles races (unheard of).
- Frosh Joanna Yu places 8th in CCS in the Pole Vault as a freshman! She vaulted 10' 5" inches in the competition and finished out the season being the number one frosh vaulter in all of CCS and the 2nd best frosh vaulter in the entire state of Califorina.
Well, it has been incredible year of track and field and we have one more week to go. God Bless you all, and thank you for all your support and love.