CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Several remarkable careers wrapped up in rewarding fashion Saturday at the 39th girls state track meet at Laidley Field.
Buckhannon-Upshur's Emily Godwin, Frankfort's Bria Welker and St. Marys' Maggie Drazba not only piled up even more hardware for themselves, but two of the three led their respective teams to championships.
Only two more records were produced in the girls meets Saturday after four marks fell on Friday - Welker tied her record of 57.13 seconds in the AA 400-meter dash and D'Andra Swiger of Doddridge, the high-point winner in girls A with 36 points, ran a time of 45.41 seconds in the 300 hurdles.
Godwin and the rest of the Bucs were on pins and needles most of the day as they battled Morgantown for AAA honors, but she did the most she could, winning all four of her events on Saturday - the 100 hurdles in 14.96, the 300s in 44.75, the long jump at 17-7 and the high jump at 5-8.
"I was pretty pleased with most things from this meet,'' Godwin said. "It's hard to think this was my last meet because you're so focused on state and you're worried about each event. It's hard to think about what's after it.
"But now looking back when all my events are over, it's kind of bittersweet and sad because I'll never really run here for Buckhannon again. At the same time, I'm really excited about my future - to go to North Carolina and work with their coaches. To see how much more - if I work hard and I just train on track - how much farther I can get.''
She didn't turn in any records this weekend, but retires with meet marks in both hurdle events, one set as a junior and one as a sophomore. Like Drazba, she's accounted for 13 state meet victories over her career - all of them in individual events.
Welker's quest presented more of a personal challenge.
For the second time in three years, she's recovering from an ACL tear, the most recent one occurring during soccer season last fall. Not only did she manage to duplicate her four wins from last year's meet, she also got to savor a team title after Frankfort lost by two points to Berkeley Springs in 2012, that coming in the meet's final event.
Last year, Welker had 40 points and distance ace Katie Jan 34, scoring all 74 of Frankfort's total. This year, Welker (40) and Jan (31) again provided the bulk, but the other Falcons chipped in 11. Jan took the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 this weekend to boost the school's title chances.
"Katie Jan's my teammate and best friend,'' Welker said, "and I know we've been wanting this for four years. We knew we were so close and since we brought our team this year, we thought we were going to get it. We had the confidence that we were going to get it.''
Welker won the 100-meter dash in 12.47 seconds, the 200 in 25.67, the 400 in 57.13 and the 300 hurdles in 45.45. She said the grind of rehab made the ultimate journey worth it.
"My doctor wasn't so sure I could run or anything,'' Welker said after her second knee injury, "but I really worked at it in the weight room every day and on the treadmill when I couldn't run.
"With my freshman year, just knowing I had the potential when I won my three state championships. I couldn't run my sophomore year, so coming back for my junior year was even more incentive because I won all four of my events. And then coming back this year, I just knew I had to have it. Like it was in my blood - I had to have it.''