No. 4 - Sophomore Standout Sensation
Four days before the State Meet, I received an email. Simply stated, it asked, "Given the choice, who would you choose for Female Athlete of the Year?" My only response at the time, was that I knew it would be a sophomore. I simply responded in the only way I could. I drew up the facts in the below chart, and said, "Your guess is as good as mine."
|Kamryn McIntosh (Suffern) Sophomore
National Record Indoors - 600m - 1:28.78
Spring State Leader - 800m - 2:06.00
National Leader - DMR - 11:45.04
Fastest FAT Split - 4x800m - 2:03.86
Fastest FAT Split - 4x400m - 53.26
Anchor 1600m Split - 4:50
1st at Indoor Nationals - 400m
1st at Indoor States - 600m1st at Indoor Nationals - DMR
|VS.||Sammy Watson (Rush-Henrietta) Sophomore
National Record Indoors - Sophomore 1000m - 2:47.27
National Record Indoors - SMR - 3:52.68
Spring State Leader - 400m - 53.08
Spring State NY #2 - 800m - 2:07.86
1500m Open Season Best - 4:34.01
NY #2 - 4x100m - 47.74 (Anchor)
1st at Indoor Nationals - 800m
1st at Indoor States - 1000m1st at Armory Invite - 1000m
One look at those breakdowns, and it immediately becomes apparent why the question is so difficult. In defense of McIntosh, her 600m National Record had been attacked by so many names in the years prior. Names like Ajee Wilson, Olivia Baker, the Francis Sisters. Not only did McIntosh break the record, she blew away the record! Not only that, but McIntosh was consistently reliable to make up any difference as a leg on the relay. Whether it be the 1600m DMR leg (4:50), or the 4x400m (53.26), McIntosh could be counted on for the win. However, in defense of Watson, she too had a national record, albeit a class record. She also had an outstanding supporting relay to lead to a shattered National Record. Her times in both the 400m and 1500m open races were State Leaders. Her range went down to the 4x100m, all the way up to 1500m. It was clear that New York had something special brewing.
It was clear that the State Meet would have to be the deciding factor. And yet, the two were not set to face each other. McIntosh had elected for the 800m, while Watson took aim for the 400m and 1500m. Both would be on the anchor legs of their 4x400m's, but it wasn't the match up people were looking for. However, Moment No. 4 comes from that very same State Meet, as they broke their respective State Meet Records within a span of 30 minutes. Sammy Watson sprinted away from the field, showcasing her speed in the 400m, going NY #7 All-Time in the event. Then, Kam McIntosh sprinted away with the same ease in the 800m, hitting NY #10 All-Time in her event. The combined efforts rewrote the history books at the State Meet, showcasing just what these two athletes were capable of.
And even still, after the moment on Friday night concluded, their seasons did not. Sammy Watson would push the Rush-Henrietta 4x400m team to the win in the Division finals. McIntosh would do the same the day after in the Fed finals. Watson would come out to steal a close victory in one of the fastest marks in State Meet History over 1500m. McIntosh would throw down another 2:04 anchor to take silver in the 4x800m. If nothing else, the weekend made the answer to the original question no more clear than it had been the week before.
One week later, at New Balance Nationals, Watson would have her most impressive performance of her career, in what could have been a moment of its' own. Yes, even more impressive than winning a World Youth Title, in a new personal best, against an International Field. As the field lined up for the Championship SMR, the clouds began to open. A drizzle at first, the drenching rain came down in droves by the penultimate runner took the baton. Standing on the line, awaiting the exchange, Watson was soaked. And yet, she gritted her teeth, grabbed the baton, and took off. She hammered through the blinding rain, pulling away from the competition. Despite the lead, she continued to power through the rain, through the pain, and through the National Record, with an FAT Split of 2:03.08, in some of the most adverse running conditions ever. That performance would go down in history.