LEXINGTON — Ciara O'Shea stayed within striking distance of Tates Creek's Jenna Strange for most of the 3,200-meter race on Saturday at the KHSAA Class 3A State Meet.
The pair went to the front early and easily pulled away from the rest of the field.
"I just tried to tuck in behind her and hoped that I could hang on and maybe, in the last lap or two, I could pick it up," O'Shea said. "It just kind of didn't work out."
O'Shea never was able to work herself into a position where she could to try to pass Strange.
"I just didn't have the energy," O'Shea said.
The senior from Tates Creek widened her lead on the final lap and went on to claim the state championship in a time of 11:02.49.
O'Shea — an eighth-grader at Madison Middle School — finished as the state runner-up (11:05.51).
She wasn't the only Madison Central athlete to post a second-place performance at the year-end championships.
Senior Keyandra Mason took second place in the triple jump with a jump of 36-06.50 — and was also eighth in the long jump.
Seven other standouts from Madison County also made it to the podium on Saturday at the University of Kentucky.
Central's Conner O'Shea was fourth in the 1,600 meter run and sixth in the 3,200 meter run.
Central's Wyatt Stewart was third in the pole vault, while Central's Tristan Petrey was fourth.
Central senior Chase Pressley was fifth in the triple jump.
Madison Southern freshman Brayden Carson finished seven in the high jump (6-00.00) in his first-ever appearance at the state meet.
Southern's Jonah Farnstrom was eighth in the 400-meter dash (50.94) and Central's Dirk Gambrel was eighth in the 110-hurdles (15.13) and ninth in the 300-meter hurdles (40.49).
Mason claimed her fourth-straight region title in the triple jump last month.
The senior had finished in the top 15 at the state in the event in each of the past three years — fourth in 2017, fifth in 2018 and 12th in 2016.
Mason — who has signed with Murray State — didn't get off to a great start. She scratched twice in the preliminaries.
"It definitely could have been better," Mason said. "I hadn't (jumped) from the 28-board all year. So, that was a different experience because it's much shorter."
Mason posted a distance of 36-05.75, which moved her into the finals.
That mark, however, was overshadowed by a remarkable performance by Sophie Galloway of Graves County.
The sophomore broke the state record (39-03.25) on each of her first three attempts, including a jump of 40-07, and claimed the state title.
"I don't think the jump was intimidating at all," Mason said. "I feel like it pushed me to want to do better."
Mason saved her best jump for last.
Her final attempt resulted in a mark of 36-06.50, which helped her secure a second-place finish.
Mason fouled on four of her six attempts in the long jump, but still posted a solid distance of 15-11.25.
Conner O'Shea won region titles last month in the 800-meter run, the 1,600 meters and the 3,200 meters.
He made a run at a state title in two events on Saturday.
The junior stayed with the lead pack of runners for almost all of the 1,600 meter race.
"I felt great for the mile and it worked out great," Conner O'Shea said. "I ran a pretty good time. It's my best finish yet and next year, I will be the top returner."
O'Shea posted a time of 4:22.38 and finished behind three seniors — Jacob Brizendine of Oldham County (4:16.68), Grady Shiflet of St. Xavier (4:18.04) and Steven Newman of Muhlenburg County (4:20.87).
Just more than an hour later, O'Shea was back on the track for the 3,200 meters.
The junior was near the front early, but started to fade late.
"As the race went on, I got tired," Conner O'Shea said.
Ciara O'Shea qualified for the state meet in both the 1,600 meters and the 3,200 meters, but decided to focus all of her energy on one event Saturday in Lexington.
"I wanted to see what I could do when I was fresh," Ciara O'Shea said.
The second-place finish in the 3,200 meters caps an incredible season for the eighth-grader.
She won middle school state titles in cross country and track — the 1,600 meters and also the 3,200 meters.
And in November, O'Shea won the KHSAA Class 3A Cross Country State Championship.
"It feels unreal that I can accomplish these things," Ciara O'Shea said. "It's amazing."
Pressley also qualified for the state meet in three individual events as well — the triple jump, long and high jump.
However, he re-aggravated a nagging hamstring problem during warm-ups.
Despite the injury, the senior still competed in the triple jump. He advanced to the finals after a jump of 44-03.25 on his first attempt.
He had two marks of more than 44-feet in the finals, but couldn't beat his preliminary round distance.
Pressley finished second in the triple jump at last year's state meet.
In the pole vault competition, Central's Stewart and Petrey each cleared the same height — 14-00.00 — along with Ethan Pierce of Grayson County.
Luke Levinson took the title with a mark of 14-06.00.
Stewart, an eighth-grader, missed once at 14-00.00, while Pierce cleared that mark on his first attempt, which gave him the title.
Petrey, a junior, had a total of five misses before reaching 14-06.00.
Several other Madison County athletes turned in memorable performances at the Class 3A State Meet.
Junior Taleya Todd was 10th in the triple jump (33-02.25) and 11th in the long jump (15-04.00).
Paige Omohundro was 11th in the high jump (4-10.00). Tirzah Puckett was 11th in the pole vault (9-06.00).
Kyler Stewart was 11th in the 1,600 meters (4:31.73) and 18th in the 800 meters (2:04.43).
Alex Rogers was 17th in the long jump (19-05.25) and Avery Hinson was 22nd in the shot put (40-02.75).
Central took 24th in the boys 4x800 meter relay — John Gula, Marcus Hutchinson, Brady Masters and John Cromer.
Southern's Nadia Meeks was 10th in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.59.
Southern's Kaylynn Wright was 12th in the 100-meter dash (12.73) and 22nd in the 200-meter dash (27.18).
The Lady Eagles were 21st in the 4x100 relay (53:01) — Wright, Meeks, Samantha Padgett and Hannah Hisle.
Southern took 14th in the boys 4x400 relay (3:34.99) — Matthew Marcum, Farnstrom, Dailon Gambrel-Harris and Jordan Williams.
In the girls team competition, Madison Central finished 18th with 17 points.
In the boys team competition, Central finished ninth with 24 points, while Madison Southern with 39th with 2.5 points.