ALBANY -- Kelly Conway had to catch her breath.
But no one could blame her. After all, no one could catch Conway at the GISA Region 3-AAA track and field meet Wednesday afternoon at Hugh Mills Stadium.
They never do.
"It was a little bittersweet, because it's my last region meet,'' said the senior, who has been running away from the field since she was in eighth grade at Deerfield-Windsor. She did it again in her farewell run at region, winning the 400-meter, the 800-meter and 1,600 meter runs. And just for a little icing, she ran on both of DWS' winning relay teams.
It was all Conway, and all Deerfield-Windsor, which won both the boys and girls team titles easily.
The Knights, led by Tony Zenon, scored 146 points, beating the combined total of second place Southland (50), Brookwood (21) and Westfield (20). The girls scored 120. Southland (55), Westfield (41) and Brookwood (25) combined to score 121.
"Kelly Conway won't have any trouble getting to sleep tonight,'' joked DWS athletic director Gordy Gruhl at the end of the meet.
Deerfield will now be back at Hugh Mills next week (running prelims, begin Thursday) for the GISA state meet.
Conway will have one more farewell party, before heading off to Clemson. She told The Herald on Wednesday that she has verbally committed to the Lady Tigers, who have one of the finest track and field programs in the nation.
"I really didn't look at any other schools,'' said Conway, who will join former DWS basketball star and current Clemson junior, Andre Young, in South Carolina. "It was Clemson all the way.''
Just like it was Conway all the way Wednesday. She has now won 14 individual track region titles in her career. And next week she can add to her nine individual state titles.
"She's had a great career, and I know she's looking forward to next week,'' DWS girls track coach Allen Lowe said. "She's always worked hard. A lot of kids burn out, but she has really persevered.''
It was a difficult day for Conway, who won despite the rare order of events, which forced her to run her three races with little rest. Her times in the 400 (63.0), 800 (2:37) and 1,600 (5:46.8) weren't typical because of the close proximity of the races. Next week at state, she will have plenty of rest between the three events.
"State won't be a problem, but I had to conserve myself (Wednesday),'' Conway said. "I couldn't just go out there and bust it.''
Still, she buried the field in each race.
The DWS girls finished first in nine individual events and won both relays, while the DWS boys, who will try to defend their state title next week, won 12 of 14 individual events and both relays.
Zenon, who be playing tailback at Georgia Tech this fall, also said goodbye to the region meet by winning the 100 (10.85), and 200 (22.68) meter dashes and running on both relays. Justin Webb won the 110 hurdles (15.95), and 300 hurdles (41.7) and ran on the 4x100 meter relay team. Ofe Ariyo won the 1,600 (5:00) and 3,200 (11.06).
Taylor Withers won the 800 (2:10) and ran on the 4x400 relay, and Davis Moore won the 400 (53.6) and ran on both relays. Reggie Brown won the high jump (5-10), Anthony Melvin won the triple jump (37-10 1/2), Gaughf Ivey won the pole vault (11-0), and Quinton Adkins won the shot put (40-2 1/2).
"We ran super (Wednesday). I really appreciated their effort,'' DWS boys coach Craig Rhodes said. "Coming back from spring break a couple of weeks ago kind of knocked us back. We're not there yet. We have yet to run our best times, but we're getting close. We'll have to be there next week.''
Southland's Langdon Wood won the shot put (124-9 1/4) and Southland's Chance Israel won the long jump (19-2 1/2).
The DWS girls had three winners in the field: Reed Hancock won the pole vault (11-6), and ran on the 4x100 relay, Sabrina Curry won the discus (89-5 1/4) and ran on both relays, and Amber Young won the long jump (16-0) and ran on the 4x100 relay. Morgan Phillips won the shot put (31 1/2).
Karlee Roberts won the 100 hurdles (17.70) and Ariyo won the 300 hurdles and ran on the 4x400 relay team.
SOUTHLAND'S PARKER SHINES:
Southland's Sara Cathryn Parker had the best region meet of her life, winning her first 100-meter dash and finally winning the 200-meter dash.
"I've been finishing second in the 200 since I was in eighth grade,'' said Parker, a senior who crossed the finish line with a big smile. "I was definitely smiling. To know this was my last time, my last chance, I pushed myself even harder to make sure I could do it.''
It's been a hectic week for Parker, who qualified for the state's Final Four in tennis Monday, and will try to win a state doubles title along with her partner Kaylee Hammack next Monday.
It's been hectic,'' Parker said. "I never have any time to practice with the track team so I run on my own. I've been to two track practices all year. It's really weird how I can do all this.''
Catherine Calcutt won the 3,200 run to help the Lady Raiders finish second in the meet.