Kinney entered the Class 2A 400-meter dash ranked seventh among the nine qualifiers, but ran a personal-best time of 48.31 seconds to win the event at the UIL State Track and Field Championships.
“I treated this like every other race, but I knew coming in it was the state meet,” Kinney said. “I knew other people had faster times than me coming in here, but I happened to come out on top.”
Kinney, who was part of the Badgers’ winning 800 relay team in 2013, started fast in Lane 8 and led the entire race.
“I was telling myself all week that I would have to come out of the blocks fast,” Kinney said. “Of course, I was in the outer lane so I had to come out and just try stay ahead the whole way.”
Kinney outsprinted Crane’s Austin Sandoval (48.61) and Commerce’s Dlance Sharp (48.62) to the finish.
“Toward the end of the curve in the home stretch, I knew I was in the lead but I felt someone coming behind me,” Kinney said. “I just had to keep pushing myself.”
Kinney pushed himself so hard that he almost had to scratch from the 200 dash because of exhaustion. He lay on the track after winning the 400 and required assistance from coach Donnie Dziuk before deciding to run the 200 just 40 minutes later.
“I was thinking about scratching the 200, but this was the last meet of the year,” Kinney said. “It was the state meet. I didn’t want to look back and regret it, so I just pushed myself and I did it.”
Kinney finished ninth in the 200 with a time of 22.62, but had no regrets.
“I came in here like sixth or seventh in the 400 and to come home knowing I was first feels great,” Kinney said.