Lauren Sterling of Mountain Valley pulls ahead to win the 100-meter hurdles at the Class C state championship track meet. The state title is Sterling’s third straight. (Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald)

Mountain Valley’s Lauren Sterling won her third consecutive Class C 100-meter hurdles title in early June. The biggest fireworks of her season, though, came a week prior at the Mountain Valley Conference meet, where Sterling finally broke the 100 hurdles record after years of training for and chasing it.

Early in the season, Sterling wasn’t confident in her ability to break the record, which is still written on a poster above her bed. Her confidence turned at the Capital City Classic.

“I wasn’t getting the times I wanted all season, and that was kind of disappointing,” Sterling said. “I was telling my coaches that maybe I peaked last year and maybe last year was it for me. When I ran, I ran a 16.48 (seconds), and it was the first 16 I ran all season. I think that moment made me realize that I am back. I still competed and I still can do this. It was my wake up call that it was still possible.”

The following week was the Mountain Valley Conference meet. Sterling felt better about her chances, but still was cautious.

“When I got to MVCs, I told myself that I just want to win, in case it doesn’t happen,” Sterling said. “My coach said, ‘You’re going to break the record today.’ I kept that in the back of my mind because I don’t want to be disappointed. I don’t want to go home and have to take that poster off the wall.”

Sterling ran a 15.90, crossing the line and almost immediately cheered as the time popped up on the timing board.

“I knew I had ran fast, but I had no idea what it was going to be, maybe a low 16,” Sterling said. “When the time flashed on the automatic timing, I couldn’t keep my emotions in. I got so excited. It was like, this is why I do this, the feeling that I felt. It made all those practices worth it, all those practices from 3:30 to 6:30. The feeling of the triumph is why I love this sport.”

Sterling went on to win the Class C state title for a third year in a row, and at the Mountain Valley banquet Sterling was presented with a plaque and her jersey was retired by the school.

“When my coaches were making my plaque we hadn’t run states yet, and the guy asked if he should put two or three state titles on it and my coaches said, ‘Put three,’” Sterling said.

Sterling will be competing in indoor and outdoor track for Emmanuel College next season.

Mountain Valley track and field champion Lauren Sterling will try to defended her state title in the 100-meter hurdles, her third straight championship in the event. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

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