SHIPPENSBURG - This race was different.
For four years, Lynne Mooradian crossed the finish line — usually in first — with the same stoic expression and walked with her hands on her hips. After Saturday's final in the 300-meter hurdles at the PIAA Class AAA track and field championships, she frowned for a second as she crossed the finish line .77 seconds behind District 3 rival Yasmin Brooks of Susquehanna Township.
A few tears came later. Tears of disappointment, sure, but also tears of pride. Her second-place PIAA medal is the best of her career, winning at least one medal each year before picking up her sixth this season. And there were tears of sadness — she had just finished the last individual race of what will likely go down as the best female track and field career in South Western history.
“I was gonna cry either way," she said with a smile. "It’s the culmination of everything, but it’s a really proud moment.”
Her time of 42.42 seconds set a new personal record, but just wasn't quite enough to conclude her storied career with the perfect storybook ending. Her teammates cheered and congratulated her on a job well done. Brooks, a junior who lost to Mooradian by .04 seconds at last week's district championships, made sure to let her know she would miss running against her next season.
“I was disappointed," Mooradian said. "But I ran a good race, she ran a better race. It comes down to that. She definitely deserved it, I did what I could do."
Brooks placed second in the 110 hurdles, losing to a state-record winning time of 13.54 second set by Cheltenham's Chanel Brisset.
"The fact that I could help her run that time made me feel pretty proud that I could push somebody that’s as fast as her.”
A couple hours later, Mooradian won the final race of her career in a preliminary heat. Running in the second of four timed finals heats in the 1,600 relay — Friday's preliminary round was axed because of thunderstorms — she finished the anchor leg in first place.
The relay team, which included Sammy Trone, Emily Newton and Kayla Brooks, didn't win a medal but did set a school record with a time of 3 minutes, 57.03 seconds. It was the sixth and final time Mooradian etched into the school record book.
“That was our goal, to beat the school record even if we couldn’t medal,” Newton said.
Her three relay teammates hope to return to Shippensburg next season, and not just in the relay. Trone eyes a spot in the 400, Newton in the 800 and Brooks in the high jump.
They'll be carrying on a winning tradition that Mooradian helped build.
“The medals are good, the records are good but (I want to be remembered) for the impact I had on my team," Mooradian said. "Everyone has been telling me for the past couple weeks that they learned a lot from me and they’re really sad I’m going. That’s all I really wanted: to impact people. The record book was just a bonus.”
Mooradian's PIAA career
300-meter hurdles: second place
300 hurdles: sixth place
100 meters: eighth place
400 meters: eighth place
400-meter relay: fourth place
100 meters: seventh place