Stowers decides what comes after the finish line


Amara Harper, writer

As she breathes in the crisp spring air and stretches her legs, she turns behind her to see a teammate coming at her full speed. She starts sprinting and reaches her hand back until she feels the cool metal baton. Once she has it in her grasp, nothing will stop her from winning. With her signature curly black hair swinging behind her, she sprints until she reaches her next teammate and passes the baton. Tabby Stowers, senior and four-year track athlete, then catches her breath, drinks a cup of water and prepares for her next race.

On May 4th, she will be running her last track meet at KHS. After graduating, she will attend Fort Hays State University for the fall semester. There she will continue her track career as a college athlete. Stowers said she has many emotions about crossing the finish line one last time.

“It’s heartbreaking, but I know I’ll definitely be able to communicate with my teammates after [graduation],” Stowers said. “I’ll come visit throughout the years so I’m not too upset about it. It’s just the aspect of being on a team with people you’re friends with that I’m really going to miss.”

Stowers made a lasting impact on the people she has crossed paths with throughout the years according to Maggie Pennington, freshman. According to Stowers, they have become less like teammates and more like friends over the years.

“She is such a positive teammate,” Pennington said. “Whenever I am having trouble during a run or I lose motivation, she is always there to cheer me on. I will definitely miss that next year because it has had such a lasting impact on me.”

According to Stowers, she made plenty of friends and memories from track and encourages as many people as she can do the same. Whether it be a new freshman who wants a sport to play or a senior who wants one last good season before graduating, she encourages everyone to try it out.

“Stick with [track] because you’re gonna love it,” Stowers said. “It’s extremely hard sometimes but it’s also extremely rewarding at times and your time will come and it might not seem like it now because you’re a freshman. I definitely encourage freshmen to do [track] all four years because the bonds and friendships you’ll get from being in track are really memorable.”

According to Stowers, helping younger students and being a leader are two of her passions. However it might be, either through inspirational talks before meets or cheering her fellow teammates on during their events, she is always there providing encouragement.

“She is competitive and she is strong and she is a leader,” Gina Woodard, KHS girls’ cross country coach, said. “In the same breath, I would say she is graceful and she is a team-first kid. She really thinks about the team before herself.”

Year after year, Stowers proved how much passion track holds in her heart, said Woodard. According to Stowers, although she  plans to always keep track a part of her life, she knows when she passes off the baton for the last time, it will be closing a page of her life and walking away from the track will be opening a new one.

“When I run, I feel like nothing else matters,” Stowers said. “I’m in the moment and I feel good about myself and I feel strong and empowered. I just love the way track makes me feel.”