DECATUR — Katina Martin burst across the finish line in Charleston, put her hands on her head and buried her face into the blue track at O’Brien Field.
After a disappointing performance as a freshman, then injuries throughout her sophomore year, Martin overcame it all as a junior with a win in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the IHSA Class 2A girls track and field state meet in Charleston on May 19.
But it wasn’t just Katina who had the stadium in a constant hum throughout the day. Her sister Tina, who had battled illness and injuries throughout her freshman and sophomore years, finished with a silver medal in the 400. She led most of the race before suffering cramps down the stretch.
The Martin sisters were the sixth biggest Herald & Review sports story in 2017.
Their work at state, and throughout the track and field postseason, reinvigorated the girls sport at Eisenhower and has people dreaming about what they can do as seniors.
Katina won the 100 with a time of 11.52 seconds, ahead of the second-place finisher, Mariya Hudson of Cahokia.
And Katina dominated in the 200, too, with a time of 24.20 seconds, again ahead of Hudson’s 24.60.
“Those girls have established themselves as the best sprinters who have ever come out of this town," former Eisenhower AD Greg Collingwood said.
It wasn’t just the gold medals that had the crowd talking — it was the way Katina won and the domination Tina showed before an injury hampered her.
It was also about the perseverance the two showed to shine on the biggest stage.