When Morgan Sulser crossed the finish line of the 100-meter dash at last weekend’s Class AA state track and field meet in Great Falls, she kept running.
Not far, but farther than normal. Sulser, now a Billings Senior graduate, bumped into a photographer at the end of the track.
“It took me longer to slow down,” she said.
That should have been the second hint that there was something special about Sulser’s sprint. The first should have been that she could feel her “legs going faster than they ever have” at the 50-meter mark.
When it was all said and done, “12.19” flashed on the Memorial Stadium scoreboard. It was the new all-class state record, breaking the 12.24 run by Sidney’s Stacey Rehbein in 1998.
When she saw the time, Sulser looked at Helena’s Callie Kanthack, the second-place finisher and asked, “Is that real? Is that real!?” Kanthack’s 12.33-second time would have usually been good enough to win the event.
“I could tell right out of the blocks that it was going to be close and a fast time,” said Kanthack. “This year, we just had so many girls that could run those outstanding times. It could have been anybody’s race. I did not expect everyone to run that fast.”
No competitor ever wants to finish second, but Kanthack takes solace in the times she and her running mates posted. Four girls ran times that would have won the 100 at any of the previous six State AA track meets, and for Kanthack the 12.33 was a personal best.
“Knowing (Sulser’s) time, I was like ‘Oh my goodness! I probably just did my best,’” Kanthack said. “If I’m going to take second to anyone, it would be to her any day of the week.”
Sulser capped her illustrious career with the two first-place finishes at last weekend’s state meet, adding another title in the 100 hurdles. It marked the third year in a row that Sulser won the 100 hurdles, including last year where she set the state-record time of 14.11 seconds.
“This is more surprising,” Sulser said of her two all-class state records, noting that the hurdles record was a season-long target her junior year. “I like to hurdle more than I like to sprint probably. I am just more of a hurdler I guess. It feels just as good, honestly.”
Sulser, who won six individual titles and was part of four Senior team championships in her career, is headed to the University of Montana to run track in college. She already has one fan.
“Morgan’s an awesome person,” Kanthack said, “and with her hard work and determination, she will definitely go far at UM next year.”