Her sophomore and junior years, Megan Winter stood in the middle of Franklin Central High School’s stadium cheering on her teammates at the state’s premier distance meet.
This past week, Winter changed roles.
Her name was announced over the roars of thousands of patrons.
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It was her turn to dawn Seymour’s purple and white uniform on the track in the “Miracle Mile” at the Flashes Showcase.
Winter was invited because of her 2015 time of 5:25.26 at the Bloomington North Regional in the 1,600.
“You need to have a certain cut time to get in,” Owls coach Bob Sexton said. “It shows that you belong at that level. The whole night is a track night of just distance runners. It’s a neat event, with spectators in the middle of the field and in the bleachers. When you see the fastest of the fast, it’s fun.”
For Winter, the showcase is her favorite event of the year because it’s exclusive to distance runners.
“It was a really exciting experience,” Winter said. “I’ve been a spectator at both state and the miracle mile. I think the miracle mile is more exciting because it’s all distance events. I knew all of the runners.
“After being a spectator the past two years, I really wanted to get in. I feel like it’s a big accomplishment in my senior year.”
In the race, Winter ran a 5:42.02 for 60th.
She said that she got stuck on the inside lane with the pack and had trouble passing opposing runners.
“Part of her time was because of placement,” Sexton said. “She didn’t get out fast enough and got trapped in the crowd. When you have 22 runners all running about the same pace, you need to be in lanes four, five and six. From here and out, she will lower this time a tremendous amount.”
Winter said,”I feel like I ran well for where we are at in the season. It was hard because I was getting pushed around a lot.”
The Seymour distance squad has dominated thus far this spring.
The Owls’ girls team scoring is anchored by the runners, which includes freshman Ashton Chase and sophomore Emma Brock in the 1,600.
The underclassmen have pushed Winter this season in both track and cross-country, which made its second-straight state appearance this past fall.
“They are all pushing each other,” Sexton said. “It’s hard to say who is our number one. Right now, I’m putting our athletes in more events. We’re having meets, but we’re using them as practice for sectional and regional. We focus on just one or two events when we get to the postseason. Right now, Megan is running four and five events.”
In 2016, Winter’s regional time earned her a berth in the state meet at Indiana University.
While she has her eye on the mile once again, Winter could return to state in another time this year.
Right now, Winter is a part of the 4×800 relay which currently ranks 23rd in the state.
This season, with their track under construction at the high school, the Owls have competed in just four meets total.
“It has been kind of the same; I’ve only ran the mile twice so far,” Winter said. “We haven’t had as many meets compared to past years. I don’t really have a good base where I’m at yet. We’ve had one meet every week.
“I want to make sure I’m always putting forth my best effort for the rest of the season. I need to put in the work to improve and not slack.”
Sexton said that Winter will have to cut time in the 1,600 to return to state in the event.
“She will have to get down into the 5:20s and under,” he said. “It will probably need to be a 5:10 at regional. We could have a lot of people hitting the same time. You never know what the cut time will be until the regional.”