Lakeside's Bowles ended career on top

Lakeside's Anna Bowles (right) is The Augusta Chronicle's girls track and field athlete of the year. The senior, who will run for Georgia next year, won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter crowns.

Anna Bowles took the lead in her last high school race, running through wind and rain and under the threat of lightning for the final three laps.


At least that's what people tell her.

Bowles said she doesn't remember much about what it was like to battle Mother Nature -- she just kept on running.

"I was focused on finishing," Bowles said about the 3,200 meter run. "I remember after I finished I was casually walking to the tent."

It took a few yells to get her inside, and that's when it hit her: she had just completed her final meet for Lakeside.

The senior won Class AAAA title in the 3,200 meter run with a time of 10 minutes, 44.98 seconds and the 1,600 meter run with a personal-best 4:57.42, the state's best time among all classes in the event.

With Bowles' impressive run and pair of state championships, she earns The Augusta Chronicle 's selection as the girls track and field athlete of the year.

Along with success in the cross country season, Bowles quickly emerged as one of Georgia's best on the track.

She came in second in both the 1,600 and 3,200 as a freshman.

After duplicating the feat in the two events as a sophomore, she won the 3,200 in 2010 before taking both crowns last month.

But her 3,200 race at the 2011 state meet started a little different than usual, as Bowles led at the beginning.

Allie Schaich, of Lambert, usually leads in those opening few laps, but Bowles said Schaich was told by her coach to stay behind the Lakeside senior.

"I was a little bit surprised, but I wasn't too much concerned about it," Bowles said. "I think I kept the same mindset. I'm not thinking too much, actually. I'm just, 'OK, stay ahead.' "

In part because of the wind, the early pace was slow in the race.

Though Schaich took first position temporarily later in the race, Bowles ended up retaking control and won by more than 13 seconds.

In that win and the others, Bowles has always been surrounded by family.

Her father, Ken, has helped coach her, and Bowles said with a laugh her father's habit of talking about running can drive her mother crazy, especially when discussions happen at the dinner table.

And then there's her younger sister, Sarah, who finished third in the 1600 this season.

Bowles, who heads to the University of Georgia in August, thinks it won't take long for her younger sister to do even better than she did.

"I think she'll do great things in the future," Bowles said about her sister. "It's been real nice, like a built-in training partner. I'll definitely miss that next year. I'm definitely excited to see how she'll do. I'm sure she'll beat all my records."

Anna Bowles

FAVORITE SPORTS MOMENT: Winning two titles in her last state championship meet of high school


FAVORITE TEAM: Georgia Bulldogs


BEST ADVICE: "Keep up my work ethic even when it's not in season and how important it is to keep working when no one's watching."



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