There was no way Sehome’s Emily Pittis was going to finish off one of Whatcom County’s finest high school distance running careers with a sour taste in her mouth.
A frustrating second-place finish in the 1,600 meters less than 48 hours earlier was in the rear-view mirror, and it simply didn’t matter what was standing in her way on Saturday, May 30, or, more importantly, holding her back — not even an injury she suffered to her left hamstring just a couple of weeks earlier.
“It wasn’t too severe, but it freaked me out, and I spent a lot of time doing some PT (physical therapy),” said Pittis, who added that she received treatment from teammate Drew Norvell’s mother for the injury this weekend. “There’s nothing you can really do about it, so I just came out and ran.”
Over the past four years, Pittis has shown that when she runs, chances are pretty good she’s going to win or at least contend for a win. She proved that one final time, as she pulled away to claim the Class 2A girls’ 3,200 meter state title for the third straight year with a time of 10 minutes, 57.09 seconds at Mount Tahoma High School.
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While Pittis has won plenty of team and individual titles over the past four years, she admitted that Saturday’s run was something a bit different as she prepares to compete for the University of Montana next fall.
“It was really emotional coming into my last high school race,” Pittis said. “I didn’t expect that. I was kind of all over the place. I knew that if I let myself and let my team down in my last race ever, I was going to be really upset. So I think it was just kind of forcing myself to keep going.”
Even though she started far on the outside, Pittis begrudgingly had to set the pace for the race — “I didn’t want to take the lead. I feel like I always have to take the lead,” she said.
Spokane East Valley’s Brittany Aquino stuck with her for the first six laps, but with about 600 meters to go, Pittis turned it on and left Aquino in her dust to finish more than five seconds back.
That allowed Pittis time to think about everything she had accomplished in Sehome green and gold.
“There’s was no way I was going to end my high school career being upset,” Pittis said. “It was just a lot of pushing myself and not even thinking about what was going on. Hearing everyone cheering, hearing my dad cheering really was special, and my mom. See, I’m really not a very emotional person. It’s just I’m so happy. I love Sehome, and it’s a good way to end it.”