Paso Robles High School senior Annie Meeder stood at the line before the start of the girls 3,200-meter event two weeks ago at the Arcadia Invitational. As the gun for the 10 p.m. race neared, she looked over at Bearcats coach Ivan Huff and smiled.
“We both just kinda knew something was going to happen,” Meeder said. “And something did. It was amazing.”
Meeder opened with a 5:25 mile and went on to win easily by more than nine seconds with a personal-best time of 10:51.64. The time also set a new school record, breaking the mark set by Huff’s daughter, Hannah Huff, in 2007.
Meeder was forced to miss the race her junior season, along with the entire track and field season, after developing a painful case of shin splints at the end of her cross country season.
“It had always been a goal of mine to make it back, and I did, and it was probably the perfect race,” Meeder said.
To fill her time and stay in shape while recovering from her injury, Meeder joined the Bearcats swim team.
“I tell it to all of my teammates whenever they are hurt... go swim because it helps your injury, but it also increases your lung capacity,” Meeder said.
Armed with a new training regimen and a new pair of Brooks shoes, Meeder has come back stronger than ever this season. She also set a new school record in the 1,600 with a second-place finish (4:59.46) at the West Coast Relays on April 1 in Clovis, becoming the first female in school history to run a sub-five minute race.
She credits much of her success this season to lowering her weekly mileage from 50 to 35 and continuing to train in the pool after practices.
Meeder, along with most of the top runners in the county, will be in action Saturday at the 43rd-annual Elk’s SLO County Meet at Cuesta College. Field events begin at 8:30 a.m., and running events start at 10 a.m.
Meeder is aiming to break more school records Saturday and over the course of the rest of the season — along with making a deep run in the postseason. And she wants the rest of the runners in the county to come with her.
“I would like to see them work off me so we all do our best,” Meeder said. “That’s the whole point of running, for people to push each other and push each other to their max and find out what we can do together.”
43rd-annual Elks SLO County Meet
Where: Cuesta College
Events: Field events begin at 8:30 a.m., running events at 10 a.m.