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story.lead_photo.caption Emily Sporleder of Blair Oaks takes the baton from teammate Ansley Casey during the 4x800-meter relay Saturday at the Class 3 track and field state championships at Adkins Stadium. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

If you didn't know who Emily Sporleder was before, you certainly know who she is now.

The Blair Oaks senior became the Lady Falcons' first three-time state champion in a single season, winning titles in the girls 800-meter run and in the 4x400- and 4x800-meter relays Saturday during the Class 3 state track and field championships at Adkins Stadium.

Winning three state titles in a single day will certainly attract attention.

"You walk into the bullpen, and people are like, 'Hey, Emily!" Sporleder said. "I'm like, 'I don't know who you are, but you clearly know who I am.'"

Sporleder also took fifth place in the 400-meter dash, as she had a hand in 34 of the Lady Falcons' 37 team points. Her performances helped Blair Oaks to a second-place finish in the final team standings, giving the program its first state trophy since 2012.

"Every team that was top four, you have that one person that's going to score and be involved in two-thirds of your points," Blair Oaks girls coach Marc Keys said. "That's really what it takes at state. You don't really need to be well-rounded, you have to have that super-athlete that's able to perform that day."

Leading off her 1.5 miles of running for the day, Sporleder ran the anchor leg of the 4x800 for Blair Oaks. Teammate Ansley Casey passed her the baton with an eight-second lead, and Sporleder ran the final 800 in 2:25.54 to give Blair Oaks a first-place time of 9:59.54, finishing nine seconds ahead of School of the Osage.

"If you can give the baton to Emily with her being close to the lead, then I have complete confidence," Keys said. "If someone outruns Emily, I'll go shake their hand."

Sporleder had nearly a four-hour break until her next event, the 400. She broke her personal record in the event with a time of 59.08 seconds, two-tenths of a second faster than her time the previous Saturday at sectionals.

"I wanted under 59 (seconds), but I think I did as well as I could," Sporleder said.

Less than an hour later, Sporleder was back on the track for the 800, where she was seeded No. 1 following sectionals.

"It's very rough, I will admit," Sporleder said of running both the 400 and the 800 so close together. "I didn't think it would be that rough, but you sit down and then you're back up running."

Sporleder held a lead of five-hundredths of a second at the halfway point of the race against Incarnate Word's Elyssa Toal, with Mountain Grove's Macey Penner right behind the two. With about 300 meters to go, Sporleder said that was when she decided to kick it into another gear.

"On that last lap, I saw that (Toal) was trying to pass me in lane 2," Sporleder said. "I saw it was about to happen, so I thought I'd better do it now.

"I don't like people passing me."

Sporleder pulled ahead and stayed in lane 1, crossing the finish line in a time of 2:20.62 and finishing eight-tenths of a second ahead of Toal. She is the first Lady Falcon to win a state title in the 800.

"There were a lot of great people in that 800, and some of them were more rested than Emily," Keys said.

The time was another personal-best for Sporleder.

"I'm a little disappointed in myself, because I wanted to get under 2:20, but I'll take a state title," she said.

Sporleder was back on the track about an hour later for the 4x400. This time, Payton Mitchell handed the baton to Sporleder with the Lady Falcons less than a second off the lead.

And that was more than enough for Sporleder, who ran the anchor leg in 59.42 seconds to cap off another state title for the Lady Falcons, who won the relay in 4:08.91.

"This was the last race of my high school career," Sporleder said. "I'm going to do as well as I can, leave no gas in the tank."

Coming into the 4x400 as the No. 6 seed, Sporleder admitted she was surprised by her team's win.

"I was very pleased, I don't think we could have done any better than that," she said.

Sporleder more than doubled her career state track medal total of three heading into Saturday's meet. She now has three all-state medals in the 4x800 and two in the 4x400 to go with her medals in the 400 and 800.

"That's a big load," Keys said. "To do that all in one day against really good people is impressive."

Sporleder will be a walk-on for the University of Central Missouri track team next season. After losing her junior season to COVID-19, she wasn't sure what was in store for her senior year.

But to win four state medals to go with a second-place team trophy?

"People will remember that, I think," Sporleder said.

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