Bloomington — For the first time in her three years at Zionsville, Katelyn Wasson was healthy for an entire track season.
She showed Saturday night at the IHSAA State Finals what she is capable of when healthy.
The Eagle junior shattered the school record with a time of 10:31.05 in the 3,200-meter run, placing second in the state.
"That felt amazing," Wasson said shortly after the race. "I finished 19th here last year. Obviously I wanted to win, but to finish second feels like a dream."
Wasson was on her game from the opening game, getting toward the front of the lead pack early.
A group of six runners started to pull away from the field, and midway through lap five of eight, Wasson jumped to the head of the pack and pushed the pace.
Throughout the final two laps, Wasson continued to push the pace, and with 200-meters to go the race was going to be decided by Wasson, Fort Wayne Carroll's Megan Hathaway and Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger's Erin Strezelecki.
Down to the final 100, it was between Wasson and Hathaway, and the Carroll senior edged ahead to win the race by 0.21 seconds.
"The race pretty much went to plan," Wasson said. "I wanted to push the pace, but I didn't want to lead the first few laps because leading all eight laps can be exhausting. I wanted to cruise through the first mile, and then try to take over from there."
The time was nearly a 15-second personal best for Wasson, who became the first Zionsville girl to ever run in the 10:30s in the distance.
She said she didn't originally see the time when she crossed the finish line, but when she saw it on the big board after, she almost couldn't believe it.
"I wasn't even really thinking about the time during the race, I was just thinking about racing the other girls," Wasson said. "I think sometimes that is when you get your best times, when you aren't worried about the splits, and you are just running as hard as you can with your heart and letting God do the work for you."
There has never been a question of Wasson's ability.
She is a two-time all-state runner in cross country, and has helped the cross country team win the state title in 2017 and finish runner up in 2018.
But in track, she has been hit with the injury bug, and her first two seasons never got a full winter and spring of training. This year was different, and she stayed healthy, allowing her to get to the next level.
She said the coaches changed up her training a little, putting more pre-practice exercises to prevent injury and doing some more cross training. She also cut back on some of the mileage earlier in the season.
"It was great to finish the year healthy," Wasson said. "Track has not always been my best friend and I have had some injuries. I think it was just time for it to be my year and to show what I had. I learned a lot about being dedicated and pushing through the hard times, so it made it all worth it."
Finishing the year healthy has also increased the motivation for next year for Wasson, in both cross country and track.
She said she is eager to build on her junior year and have an even better senior season.
"This year, I showed myself that I can finish high on the podium, and I didn't always have that belief in previous years," Wasson said. "A lot of it is just trusting in God's plan and trusting in my teammates. I am just really excited to see where my senior year takes me."