FAIRFIELD — An individual state championship is hard to ignore.
So are Sac-Joaquin Section Masters championships, SJS Division I championships and Monticello Empire League championships.
All those titles belong to Fairfield High graduate Daje Pugh, the 2012 Daily Republic Female Athlete of the Year. She’s now at the University of Washington in Seattle, on a full-ride scholarship.
It all started back in May, when Pugh won MEL titles in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdle championships on her home track.
Then came the Division I championships, where Pugh won both races again, the 300s in a D-I record of 42.08 seconds, besting her mark of 42.34 she set a season earlier.
Pugh’s dominance continued at the Masters meet, where she swept both races again, winning the 100s is 13.95 and the 300s in 42.02, both titles giving her legitimate shots at state championships.
At state, Pugh opened her championships with a third-place finish in the 100 hurdles, running a personal best of 13.69, just .36 seconds from a title.
Then, as many had predicted would happen, Pugh ran the race of her life, pulling away from the field in the 300 hurdles final, running a lifetime-best of 40.57, more than a second faster than she had ever crossed the finish line.
Pugh’s high school career ended with a dream come true.
“Yes it did,” Pugh said after her state championship run. “All I know is my coach (Dave Monk) told me go out hard because the two girls on both sides of me, they were like the top in the state. I just tried to get out hard. I felt Jordie (Munford of Rancho Cucamonga) right beside me and I didn’t want to lose her. I was so hungry to get first place, so I held on and it turned out to be a win.”
As for her third-place finish in the 100s?
“It feels really good because I know I wanted to get top three and to actually make top three and get a section record feels really, really good,” she said. “Honestly, I think it’s the competition. You have to run with the competition. The person next to me pushing me all the way to the finish.”
And to two state medals.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.