By Richard Greene
Meters from securing another medal for the Alvord Lady Bulldogs, Jordan Ward’s high-school career came to a crashing end on the Mike Myers Stadium track Friday.
Ward tumbled in the final meters of the 4×400 at the University Interscholastic League track and field championships and crawled to a fourth-place finish.
The Alvord team of Chelsey Steele, Marissa Schedcik, Madi Lynch and Ward finished in 4:02.86.
“It was tough, disappointing,” Ward said. “I tightened up so bad and we bumped. If we hadn’t hit, I wouldn’t have fell.
“I wanted it really bad for everyone else. I’m proud of the girls. They put me in the best spot.”
Ward was in third place when she took the final handoff from Madi Lynch.
Ward quickly chased down Marlin’s Bree’Asia McCraw and Centerville’s Callie Padgett, taking the lead with 90 meters to go.
She held the lead until the final meters. Universal City Randolph’s Jasmine Waring appeared to be making a pass in the final 10 meters when Ward went down.
Padgett and Crane’s Rausalyn Miller squeezed past Ward as she tried to recover to get to the finish line.
“She sold out and didn’t have anything left,” said Alvord coach Rhonda Enis. “She said she got bumped and lost her balance.
“I hate that had to end her career. She fought and gave everything that she had. I wanted it so bad for them. They deserved to be champions.”
Steele, who won the bronze medal earlier in the evening in the 800, ran a strong opening leg to get the Lady Bulldogs into third place. She made the handoff to Schedcik, the lone underclassman in the quartet. She pulled into second place giving the baton to Lynch at 2:01.
Lynch held in with the leaders to get the stick to Ward within three seconds of Marlin.
“I always feel that I could have ran faster,” Lynch said. “I knew [Ward] would catch them, and she did.”
Lynch praised Ward’s effort after the race.
“She gave it all that she had,” Lynch said. “I’m so proud of her. I wouldn’t trade her for anything.”