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Oak Ridge senior chooses to walk with class instead of run at Masters

By: Nick Pecoraro Telegraph Correspondent
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As the 2012 academic year came closer to a conclusion for most high schoolers on Friday, May 25, an elite few still had other things on their minds in the athletic realm. The Sac-Joaquin Section track and field Masters were scheduled for Thursday (preliminaries) and Friday (finals) at Elk Grove High School in conjunction with some high school graduation ceremonies. After qualifying for the Masters finals in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, Oak Ridge High senior Shannon Trumbull was faced with a very difficult decision. Compete in the Masters or graduate with her classmates? Trumbull chose the latter, deciding to officially trade in her track uniform that she had worn over the last three years for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to don the cap and gown as an Oak Ridge graduate. ?This was a very difficult decision. I wanted to participate in graduation and I also wanted to run. I wish I could have done both, but I knew I would be bummed if I missed graduating with all of my friends,? said Trumbull. ?I was happy with my season prior to Masters finals so I made the difficult decision of ending my season after Masters trials.? One of the main reasons Trumbull made her decision to walk across the stage goes back to her sophomore year. She qualified for the Masters finals in the 100 and 300 hurdles and participated in each event. As a result, she was unable to make it back to Oak Ridge in time to see her sister Kelly walk the stage for her 2010 graduation. ?It was very disappointing,? Trumbull said. ?It?s unfortunate that over the years, the Masters finals have conflicted with Oak Ridge?s graduation. Many athletes have been in my position. Some have chosen to participate in Masters finals while others chose to participate in graduation. It?s a very difficult choice that hopefully no one will regret.? Trojan track and field coach Rob Fairley found out about Trumbull?s decision through her hurdler?s coach, Alissa Mueller, right after she had finished running her final event. Fairley was understanding and supportive of Trumbull?s decision, as he has become accustomed to these situations over the years. ?For some kids, graduation is a huge thing. They have relatives coming from out of town and they want to be with their family,? said Fairley, who likes to hold his own ?pseudo graduation? for his senior athletes that choose to compete in the Masters over graduation. ?It?s just an opportunity for me to share my appreciation for these kids with their parents,? he said. ?It?s a special moment for me. I work with a lot of these kids for four straight years and it gives me a chance to thank them and their families.? Although this year?s Masters prelims were the last run of Trumbull?s high school career, they will not be her last events as a student-athlete. She will be studying Marine Biology while running track at UC Santa Barbara next year alongside two other Oak Ridge alum, Jessica Emde and Maxine Goyette. Said Trumbull: ?I am grateful for the experience I had running track at Oak Ridge and for the supportive coaches who spend a lot of their free time working with all of us.?