By Kyle Daubs

Is Megan Garrett the greatest girls runner in Charleston High history?

Late 1970s star Becky Kaiser was a five-time All-State runner during her days at CHS; however, Garrett lost all of last season due to COVID. Garrett is already a two-time All-State 800-meter runner. Who knows what she could have added to her list?

Garrett has been etching her name onto the school record board in Baker Gym. After Monday’s stellar run in the 1,600-meter, Garrett has broken three school records this season. 

“I am so excited that I was able to break the school record,” said Garrett. “Going into this season, I thought these records might be attainable towards the end of the season. But early on, my goals shifted once I competed in some indoor meets.” 

Garrett broke the mile record Monday by running a time of 5:01.64, more than 30 seconds faster than the second-place finisher in the dual meet. She broke Carol Chapman’s 1984 record of 5:08.4 by almost seven seconds. 

Last Friday during the prestigious Distance Night in Palatine meet, Garrett broke Chapman’s 800-meter record of 2:16 by clocking a time of 2:15.36. In two weeks, Garrett broke two school records that stood on the record board for 37 years. 

“My goal going into Distance Night in Palatine was to run a fast time and not worry too much about where I placed,” said Garrett. “I accomplished my goal and was super happy to come away with a new school record.”

Garrett’s first school record came earlier in the season when she ran the 400 in 59.14 seconds, breaking Hope Griffin’s time of 1:00.16 set in 2016. 

“Before this season, I was not close to breaking any of these records,” said Garrett. “With my past seasons, I wasn’t too confident that I would be able to run these times. I am so happy that my times have dropped so much and that my hard work is paying off. Hopefully, I will drop a few seconds off of my mile time and be able to get that record as well.”

It’s a great story for Garrett, who has made significant strides to return to an elite level. After running 18 minutes and 40 seconds at the IHSA State Championships in cross country as a freshman, Garrett enjoyed two state sixth-place finishes in the 800 during track season. 

However, her fall seasons were plagued with injuries. Plus, who knows what last year could have been? Needless to say, it’s been a motivating stretch of events. 

“After COVID canceled my junior track season, I was determined to make my senior year unforgettable,” said Garrett. “I committed to training hard and smart. I set high goals and worked hard even on the days I didn’t want to. Another big change I had was my mindset. I’m focusing on staying mentally tough throughout my races.”

Garrett has another tough task ahead. Despite her record-setting performance in the 800, she lost by less than a second to Lincoln’s Becca Heitzig, so winning the Apollo Conference is the next step. Then, she can focus on getting onto the podium for the IHSA State Championships. 

For now, Garrett is going to enjoy each mini-victory. 

“I would love to qualify for the state meet and receive All-State honors,” said Garrett. “Another big goal for me is to continually drop my times down. I want to have fun with it and soak up every second of my last high school season.”