The tiniest fraction of a second is all that separates Cowichan Secondary Schools senior girls 4x100m relay team from making history.
And if all goes right at the provincial championships in Langley this weekend, that tiny fraction will disappear and Casey Heyd, Nicole Lindsay, Chicago Bains and Taryn Smiley will hold the provincial record in that event.
"I’m nervous, but I think we can do it," says Heyd, who runs the first leg for the team.
"If our hand-offs are good," anchor Smiley adds.
"And if the teamwork is there," second runner Lindsay chimes in. The team is so in sync, even their sentences are relays.
The provincial record in the event is 48.48 seconds. At last year’s provincial meet, the Cowichan girls ran their personal best, 48.57, and won the gold medal. Their best time this season came at the Island championships last month, where they set an Island record of 48.70.
The focus now is on a spot in the provincial record book.
"It’s going to suck if we don’t," Smiley says. "There’s a lot of pressure to do it."
"We have two chances," Bains points out. "In the heats and the final."
The quartet has been running together since last year. The girls all compete in individual races, where they’ve also collected several records and medals.
"We’re lucky to have each other," Heyd says.
It’s a "no-brainer" to put the four speedsters together, Lindsay says.
"I think our natural abilities help," Heyd adds. "We’re all good at track."
In addition to representing their school, the athletes all train with the CVAC Jaguars under coach John May. They have all competed at the national championships in the past, and plan to do so again this year. Smiley won’t be at the same meet as the rest, however, as she moves up to the junior level, while the rest are still in the youth ranks.
Smiley is the lone Grade 12 on the team. A year ago, Heyd, Lindsay and Bains could have raced in the junior relay, but moved up to senior to run with Smiley, and they still won. Although the other three will have another crack at the high school record next year, they want to do it this year, with Smiley.
Smiley’s track and field career won’t end with her Grade 12 graduation, as she has a spot on the Missouri State University team for next year. She’s not quite ready to say goodbye to her Cowichan teammates though.
"It’s sad," she says. "I don’t really want to think about it until the day I leave."
The mission, then, is to win it now, for Smiley.
"That’s why we’ve got to make it our best this year," Heyd says.