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From a bout with COVID-19 to a double state championship: Jesuit’s Chloe Foerster shows the fans at Hayward Field that the 800 and 1,500 are still ‘my races to win’

“I knew this was my last state meet, and I really wanted to make it count.”

By René Ferrán | Photo by Taylor Balkom 

Three weeks ago, the day after senior Chloe Foerster won the Elite Mile on her home track at the Jesuit Twilight Relays, she awoke feeling really sick.

She went to urgent care and received a dreaded diagnosis — she had COVID-19.

“They thought I also had heart problems, which is why it took even longer for me to come out to run,” she explained. 

For 10 days, Foerster felt shellacked by the virus while counting down the days until the Metro League district meet, hoping she’d be cleared in time to compete.

Fortunately, doctors gave her the OK right before the meet, and after winning the district title in the 800 meters and taking second in the 1,500 to qualify for the OSAA track and field championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, she focused on building her wind for her final state meet.

“I knew this was my last state meet, and I really wanted to make it count,” the University of Washington signee said.

After breezing through Friday’s 800 to qualify for the Class 6A girls final, she felt good for the start of Saturday morning’s 1,500 race.

In a field that included 3,000 champion Kate Peters of Lake Oswego and Franklin senior Kaiya Robertson, who pushed Foerster to the brink in the Twilight Elite Mile, Foerster got the race she hoped.

“I knew they would be tired from the 3K, but I didn’t want to count on that,” Foerster said. “I did want to run fast, but I knew since the past two weeks have been quite the journey, I just wanted to run my race.

“It played out exactly how I wanted it to go. We went out pretty slow, and I’m glad because I could go out slow, then pick up the pace, which is what I feel best doing. I got control of the race and was able to finish really hard.”

Robertson once again challenged for the lead coming around the final corner, briefly getting in front, but like in the Elite Mile, Foerster matched Robertson's surge with one of her own and held on to win in 4 minutes, 24.39 seconds.

“She snuck around me on the corner, but I really like running with that pressure on me,” Foerster said. “As I was coming down the straight, I was like, This is my race to win! I really wanted to win it, and another gear just came out.”

Chloe Foerster Jesuit Taylor Balkom

The victory, though, came with a price. Foerster has asthma and a lingering cough from her bout with COVID, and she had a coughing fit coming off the awards stand that buckled her in the southeast corner as she threw up several times.

It left her shaken and worried for a bit that she wouldn’t recover in time for the 800 final scheduled for two hours later. 

“I needed to regroup,” she said. “I took a lot of cough drops, and I knew that if it really came down to it, I wanted it so badly, I’d be able to pull it out.”

And pull it out, she did, going stride-for-stride with freshman teammate Emma Bennett down the front straightaway for one final state meet victory — the third 800-meter victory of Foerster’s career.

And even though her winning time of 2:09.60 was slower than what she ran to win her first title as a freshman in 2019, she didn’t seem to care.

“I’m just happy to be here, able to race really well,” Foerster said.

Best photos from Day 2 of 6A, 5A, 4A Oregon high school track and field state championships