Paige Magee, senior, found herself as an underdog while entering the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Track and Field National Championships at the end of July. Originally ranked 22nd at the beginning of nationals, Magee ended up climbing the charts to top 2nd by finals. By the end of the meet, Magee walked out a national champion.
“I knew I had that one person in front of me, and because it was so attainable, I was dedicated to beat them,” Magee said.
Magee crossed the finish line in just 1.00.81 becoming the AAU National Champion in the 400 meter hurdles. Jordan Deadwyler (Tallahassee, FL) crossed the finish line a second behind Magee.
“It was surreal crossing the finish line; I couldn’t really believe it,” Magee said. “It wasn’t until I was on the podium and they called my name for first place that it sunk in and I realized that I had just done something big.”
Magee, a Columbia native, began track at Lange Middle School during her 7th grade year. Originally joining the track team to take after her mom and brother, she has become an eight time all-state champion and a two time all-American national hurdler. A late injury last season kept Magee from practicing just a week before districts and she has been in a boot ever since, only taking it off when she’s running.
Magee continues to spend hours on the track to get stronger and faster as she prepares for her last season of high school track. She takes pride in her dedication to be the best, and believes her family is the reason she is who she is today.
“Early on my parents instilled in me that I need to put full effort in everything I do,” Magee said. “I’m not someone who quits because I didn’t race well or because my leg hurts. Any time someone does something better than me, I’m never going to want to be like them, I’m going to want to beat them.”
Though not committed, Magee has fielded several Division One scholarships to run track and field after high school. Magee, however, looks forward to her last year of high school track and field and believes it will motivate her to meet her goals this season.
“Every meet is my last time that I will be running on that track. I’ve been running on the same tracks ever since my freshman year and I have memorized each one; the layout, the track, the gun sounds, and so it will really push me to just leave it all at that track one last time.”