STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Marble Falls High School’s Bailey Goggans finished second at the Music City Distance Carnival in Nashville on June 1, setting a new personal best in a race that featured four of the top 12 nationally ranked 800-meter high school runners.
Goggans finished in 2 minutes 6.61 seconds in the high school girls’s race, the sixth-fastest time nationally in that distance. Taylor James of Niwot, Colorado, who clocked 2:05.83, edged Goggans to capture gold. Both girls are going to be juniors this coming school year.
Marble Falls High School cross-country head coach and distance coach Chris Schrader noted Goggans was in the top four the entire race, even though the pace was faster than he wanted. She completed the first lap in 1:01.68.
The strategy was for her to run faster with about 200 meters left, but she waited a little too long to make her move.
With 20 meters remaining, James accelerated to the finish line.
Still, the race had several teachable moments for Goggans.
“I learned when to make a move and how to pace myself better,” she said.
Schrader noted it’s difficult to be disappointed considering Goggans ran another personal best against runners who are as talented as she is.
“You tried to win,” he recalled telling her. “That’s what’s going to teach you more and more.
“Bailey is starting to realize she can be really good,” he added. “I’ll take a kid trying to win versus a kid who’s just floating along.”
Goggans was happy to have had Schrader with her to help her think through the race before she took to the track, noting the sport is about being mentally tough as well as physically fit.
“I felt more confident, and it felt more of a normal track meet,” she said. “I wasn’t alone.”
Marble Falls High School finished the 2018-19 school year May 30, and Goggans was busy preparing for final exams while also training. Her energy level wasn’t quite where she wanted it to be, she said.
“I was doing a lot at the end of the year,” she said.
Though Goggans and James raced each other for the first time June 1, they knew each other’s times before they met on the track.
“We’ve been pretty close the whole season,” Goggans said. “It’s amazing to have that field to race against.”
Goggans competed at this meet for the first time and really liked the track, which made for a fast race. She noted it had “bend.”
“It has spring to it,” she said. “It felt really smooth.”
Though Goggans is a member of the high school track-and-field team, she competed in Nashville on her own. The school district did not pay for travel or meet expenses.
She is now preparing for the Brooks PR Invitational on June 15 at the University of Washington in Seattle. Athletes who compete are invited based on hitting a standard. The 800-meter runners’ standard was 2:08.
Goggans said she will race several of the same runners from the Nashville meet.