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Girls track: Schow doubles up on titles

Rachel Schow won titles in the 100 and 300 hurdles at last week's state track tournament.

Rachel Schow had never run the hurdles before last spring. Luckily for the Irish, the sophomore has proven to be a pretty quick learner.

Midway through last season, Schow ran the 100 hurdles for the first time. She went on to place sixth in the event at the state meet.

Schow continued to perfect her 100 hurdles race this spring, while also putting in some time working on a new race -- the 300 hurdles. By Saturday afternoon, she was a state champion in both events.

"I am completely surprised. The coaches told me that I would be a much better hurdler than a runner and I was completely skeptical," said Schow, who has been running track since fourth grade. "When I first started hurdling my form was absolutely dreadful. I think being in gymnastics for years and years helped me learn technique really quickly and translated nicely to the hurdles, and I had a phenomenal coach (Parc Williams) who helped me master it quickly. I am completely shocked it has taken me as far as it has."

On Saturday it took her all the way to the top of the podium at Hamline University in St. Paul.

Schow opened Saturday with the 100 hurdle finals. She got out to a slow start, but made up ground over the second half of the race and edged Michaela Preachuk of Lakeville North at the finish line, 14.60-14.61.

"It's a rhythm race and I had a hard time getting into a rhythm," Schow said. "I had to catch up and I finally did over the last hurdle."

It took a while before either athlete knew who crossed the finish line first.

"They flashed something on the scoreboard that she'd won at first. I had no idea who won until they filed us in line at the awards podium," Schow said. "I didn't find out for sure until they put me in the first-place spot."

Schow then had 20 minutes to relax, talk to friends and family and "kind of do a happy dance" before beginning to prepare for the 300 hurdles. That race played out much differently than the 100 hurdles, as Schow took an early lead in Lane 3, but clipped a hurdle as she rounded the final turn. She was able to stay on her feet and hang on for the win by 18-hundredths of a second with a time of 43.89 seconds.

"I could see (defending champion Meleah Biermaier of Thief River Falls) coming out of the corner of my eye and I thought she might have won, I wasn't quite sure," Schow said. "At that point I was tired and just happy the race was over with because the 300 hurdles is a scary race to run. I was excited just to have gotten first or second. Once again I didn't find out until we got to the awards area."

Schow became Rosemount's fifth individual girls state champion, its third two-time champion and its first title-holder in either of the hurdle races.

"It was a dream of min and I thought there was a glimpse of hope I could win, but with the competition in each race it's still a complete shock that it happened," Schow said.

Thanks in large part to Schow's 24 points, the Irish placed in a tie for 10th out of 65 scoring teams with 27 points.

Senior Katie Duff accounted for the other three points. The two-time state qualifier closed out her career with a spin of 124 feet, 11 inches in the discus that was good enough for seventh place.