by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Osseo High senior Phillis Webb could not believe what she had just done when the state’s 200-meter dash final results were flashed on the Hamline University Field scoreboard last Saturday.
Webb, competing in her last high school event, stunned many track experts and herself when she edged Hopkins’ Taylor Anderson for the 200-meter title.
“I honestly I didn’t know I would make it this far. I never knew I had it in me,” Webb said. “Running against good competition, you see the best in yourself.”
Competition in state track did not get any better than Anderson. A two-time 100-meter state champ, Anderson, who is going to UCONN on a track scholarship, is generally acknowledged as the state’s best sprinter. Webb knew that well because she had never beaten Anderson in four years of competition. Webb entered the 200 final with the best time but she still was not confident about the race.
“She is a good athlete,” Webb said. “She plays basketball but track is her lifestyle. She is a track star. I never really thought I could beat her. It’s a blessing. She is still good competition.”
Webb was in lane 4 Anderson in lane 5. Webb got out on the curb fast and was ahead. At 70 meters Anderson picked it up and surged ahead.
“I started panicking. I thought I had lost,” Webb recalled.
Webb turned her fear into speed. When the two headed down the straightaway, they were in a dead heat. It came down to whoever would lean best.
“It’s funny because I had never leaned the whole year,” Webb said. “Finally in my mind I saw the finished line and I knew she would lean so I leaned as fast as I could.”
It was close but Webb had an idea that she had won.
“I kind of knew because I saw her at the corner of my eye,” Webb said. “But I did not want to be cocky.”
Webb patiently waited until the final results were announced. Webb won in a school record time of 24.83, beating Anderson’s 24.86.
“It was a good feeling,” Webb said. “I was not even going to run track this year. Now that I have a title it was worth it.”
It was Webb’s second state track title. Last spring, she teamed up with Anuli Okonkwo, Morgan Bialke and Brieanna Puckett to win the 4×200 in an all-time state record time.
“It is different winning in relays because you were in a group,” Webb said. “For me personally there is more pressure doing a relay because I was the anchor and it was all on me. It was great to see my teammates cry for joy. It’s different winning as an individual.”
According to Osseo track coach Cullen DeVries, Webb, who also placed fourth in the 100 and competed in the 400 at state, became the most decorated Osseo track and field athlete. She holds Osseo school records in the 100 (12.00), 200 (24.83), 400 (56.84), the 4×200 (1:40.22) and 4×400 (4:00.24). And she had two state title and won numerous all-conference, all-section and all-state honors.
“Phillis has been a three-sport athlete her entire Osseo career,” DeVries said. “There are few athletes that can claim a three-sport status and excel the way Phillis has in all areas. The Osseo community will miss Phillis in the sports arenas and in the classroom.”
Contact Bob San at firstname.lastname@example.org