She was out of breath Thursday and her legs felt numb. But Riley Hodgson wouldn't have had it any other way.
The Sir James Dunn runner gutted out first place in the senior girls 400-metre hurdles at the City High school Track-and- Field Meet at Jo Forman Track.
"I love the feeling of winning," said Hodgson, an 18-year-old, Grade 12 student, who also captured top spot in the 100m hurdles. "Just crossing the finish line and knowing that dreadful race is over feels great."
Hodgson finished in 1:13.16, more than two seconds ahead of Karly Meincke (1:15.99) of White Pines.
"It's a really tough race,"Hodgson said. "Coming around that last corner, you feel as if you want to die. But you just have to give it your all."
Meantime, Tessa Kasch of St. Mary's was the top individual in the Senior Division by virtue of first-place finishes in the 1,500m and 3,000m races and a secondplace showing in the steeplechase.
Ten points are awarded for first place, eight for second, six for third, etc., in the two-day event, which began Wednesday.
"Everything went the way I'd planned and I'm definitely happy," said Kasch, who was most pleased by her victory in the 3,000m. "I knew (SJD's) Nora-Beth (Saunders) would be running that race and we pushed each other the entire time. I was happy to pull through."
Saunders finished second in the race.
SJD's Hilary Rock, who won the long jump and triple jump and placed fourth in the high jump, was second overall with 24 points.
Kaitlin Morin (200m, 400m) of St. Mary's and Holly Predinchuk (shot put, discus) of the Dunn were both double-winners.
Bawating's Emalee Rains (high jump), St. Basil's Katie Komsa (javelin), SJD's Alexis Shamess (800m) and Danielle Frayn of White Pines (100m) were also first-place finishers. The Dunn captured both the 4- by-100m and 4-by-400m relays.
In junior, the Saints Taylor Rocca wound up second in the 80m hurdles, 100m and 200m races to finish as the top individual performer with 24 points.
SJD's Kati Glassford (80m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Lynnea Lobert (1,500m and 3,000m) and Rachel Eddy (100m and 200m), and Liza Ritchie (shot put, discus) and Rachel Brain (400m and 800m) of White Pines, all won two events each to tie for second place overall with 20 points.
The Saints Tianna Deluzio (javelin) and Kristine Dovigi (high jump), SJD's Carissa Skalecki (triple jump) and Kayleigh Rathwell of White Pines (long jump) also placed first.
St. Basil secured bragging rights in the 4-by-100m relay.
In midget, St. Basil's Annie Reader was the top individual with 30 points, accumulated from first-place finishes in the open steeplechase, where she set a record Wednesday, the 1,500m and the 3,000m.
"I was really excited to win three golds in my first year," said the Grade 9 student, who won the steeplechase in 5:53.26, beating the old mark of 5:55.10. "I didn't even think I'd come first against the older runners, but I was really excited to set a record."
Rachel MacLennan of St. Mary's was second with 28 points after winning the 400m and long jump and finishing second in the 200m. Anna-Lee Policicchio of St. Mary's was a double-winner, grabbing the discus and setting a new city record (9.21 metres) while winning the shot put.
Her teammate, Alyssa St. Germain (100m, 200m), also won twice while Taylor Spina (80m hurdles), Chelsea Reader (800m) and Kristen Henderson (triple jump) of St. Basil, Jordyn Hamilton (javelin) of White Pines, Korah's Cydney Mihell (300m hurdles) and SJD's Madison Mascardelli (high jump) also grabbed first-place finishes. St. Basil won the 4-by-100m relay.
The Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (NOSSA) championships go next Thursday and Friday in North Bay.