She broke away from the clump of runners and eventually left most challengers behind, but up until the final lap, Lakeside's Anna Bowles was chased by another runner.
Bowles knew someone was relatively close to her, but she didn't find out until later the person was teammate Katie Townsend.
The two Panthers finished in first and second place in the 3200 meter run for Class AAAA at the 2010 GHSA state track meet, and now both are ready to lead the field again.
Bowles is hoping to post the best time in the state again this year, but she also wants to go under 5 minutes in the 1600 meter run and compete for the state title there. She came in second in the 1600 in 2010.
Starting today and going until Saturday evening, Bowles can make her final high school meet special.
"It's going to motivate me to try even harder than before," said Bowles, who will run in college for the Georgia Bulldogs. "I'm going to do it for my dad, my school and my teammates."
Bowles and Townsend are two of four Lakeside runners who will compete in the 2011 GHSA girls state track and field meet at Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany. The others are Anna Bowles' younger sister, Sarah (who is a sophomore), and Megan Mayfield.
Townsend, a Georgia Tech signee, runs about 45 miles a week during track and field season with her teammates and sees this state meet as a chance to run a personal best in the 3200 meter. After completing the event in 10:52.49 at the 2010 state meet, Townsend is trying for a time in the 10:40s.
In Class AAA, Washington County's Ashley Ivey is preparing for four events: the high jump, triple jump, 100 meter intermediate hurdles and the 400 meter relay.
The junior came in first in the three individual events and the one team event at the Region 3-AAA meet.
At the 2010 state meet, Ivey placed second in the triple jump, third in the 100 meter intermediate hurdles and helped the Lady Hawks finish sixth in the 400 meter relay.
Ivey said she didn't expect to do as well as she has in track, but she kept working and also gave credit to her parents for her success.
Despite dealing with what she described as mild knee and ankle injuries, Ivey has remained strong, never losing determination.
"If you give up, you'll never know how far you could have gone," Ivey said.
Cross Creek's Kim Thurmond also did well at the Region 3-AAA meet, taking first in the 100 meter run, the 200 meter run and the 4 x 400 meter relay with her teammates. Lakeside's Townsend wants to excel, but she's also ready for the next challenge.
"I'm hoping to go out with a bang," Townsend said.
"But I'm always excited to start something new. I'm going to miss all my teammates and coaches, but I'm excited. I get to go on my own path now."