LAKEWOOD - When you're a state-class sprinter, you're used to doing everything on a little bit of a faster pace.
But not many are like Lewis-Palmer's Nicole Montgomery. She broke high school track records in her sophomore year, and broke them again her junior year. She got nationally recognized before she could legally drive a car, won nearly every race she ran across the country and only expected more out of herself.
As of Saturday evening, however, she can finally breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Running into the record books for the second consecutive year in the Class 4A 400-meter race, Montgomery put her anxiety to rest when she replaced the record time of 54.23 seconds she set last season with a state-meet record time of 53.44 at this year's state track and field meet at Jefferson County Stadium.
The Lewis-Palmer junior went on to win the 200 in a personal-best 24.02 a few hours later to give her two golds on the day.
"The 400 is the one I was most worried about," said Montgomery, who is ranked fifth in the nation in the event. "So coming in, I was a wreck. For the past weeks or month, I'd wake up in the middle of nights, get nervous at strange times . it was starting to get to me."
She didn't show it. After watching relaxation videos before the meet, her dad's recommendation she says, Montgomery flew off the line in the 400 and 200 and led throughout in each event. Behind her, Golden's Payton Miller, who finished in second place in both events, could only marvel at her competitor's talent.
"She's amazing. Just amazing," Miller said. "You can't feel that bad when you lose to someone as great as her."
Montgomery was not the only area sprint success story either. Pine Creek junior Alleandra Watt took home four golds (the maximum amount you can take in a year) at the state meet.
Coming off Thursday's record-setting performance in the 800 relay at prelims, followed by Friday's state title in the event, Watt won gold in the Class 5A 100 and 200 dash as well as the 400 relay on Saturday.
The junior swept the 100 and 200 in her freshman year before she was shut out of individual top honors during her sophomore year.
"I was upset to lose to Ana Holland (of Regis last season), but she's a great runner, and I'm OK getting second to her. She makes me better," Watt said. "It's great to come back and get more points for my team. I just had to trust my coaches, teammates and my training."
Elsewhere in sprinting events, TCA's Nick DeRay was passed in the final 50 meters of the Class 3A 400, but fought back to not only win the 400, but also the 200.
And James Irwin's Miguel Molas defended his title in the 3A 100 with a time of 10.98.
"It's stressful sometimes, thinking what you have to do to defend your title. So yeah, I'm glad to be done with it," Molas said.