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‘No, you’re not going to get me, girl!’ Marist Catholic’s Jennifer Tsai gets payback on Baker’s Emma Baeth in 4A girls 800

“The motivation of it being my last race, that last 100, I was like, ‘Give it all you’ve got. Don’t leave anything behind.’”

By René Ferrán | Photo by Taylor Balkom 

Jennifer Tsai acknowledged being a bundle of nerves arriving at Hayward Field in Eugene for the final day of the Class 4A track and field state championships.

The Marist Catholic senior entered Saturday’s 800 and 1,500 meters as the top seed in both, and “definitely, there was excitement, but I felt a little bit of pressure for myself.”

The 1,500 was first, and for 1,450 meters, the race played out as Tsai hoped. She took the lead from Phoenix’s Sophia Stubblefield, Friday’s 3K winner, early on the final lap and maintained it until getting passed along the homestretch by Baker’s Emma Baeth, who ended up winning by three seconds in 4 minutes, 45.56 seconds.

The sting of that defeat lingered as Tsai and Baeth battled for the lead two hours later coming around the final curve of the 800.

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For a split second, it looked as if Baeth would reprise her victorious surge.

“She was very sweet, so I was like, ‘No hard feelings or anything,’” Tsai said. “But when I saw her coming on my side, I was like, ‘No, you’re not going to get me, girl!’” 

Jennifer Tsai Marist Catholic Taylor Balkom

Tsai matched Baeth’s charge with a burst of her own, holding her off by 14-hundredths of a second to win in 2:21.71 — the perfect sendoff for the College of William & Mary commit.

“My season has been a little bumpy,” said Tsai, who nursed a bad quad strain for much of the spring. “The motivation of it being my last race, that last 100, I was like, ‘Give it all you’ve got. Don’t leave anything behind.’” 

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