Michaela Pryor knew she was going to have trouble catching the elite sprinters at Wauwatosa West. But in time, it turned out she caught one of them.

The Waukesha North junior sprinter and hurdler set a meet record March 18 at the talent-rich Nelson-Daniel Invite at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, an event that usually serves as the kickoff to the spring sports season. Her time of 7.26 seconds in the 55-meter dash was good for a new meet record, and remained second on the state honor roll entering the first week of April.

The mark matched the 7.26 recorded by Tosa West’s Azya McLin in 2014. McLin, along with teammates Cheri’A Adams and Mercy Ndon, have given the Trojans one of the more formidable sprint crews in the state, to the tune of back-to-back Division 1 titles in the 4x100-meter relay.

Pryor will still be aiming to make state in the 100 dash after taking fifth at last year’s sectional at West Allis Hale. Ahead of her were all three Tosa West runners and Lexi Romero of Brookfield Central – and that lineup pushed Pryor in another direction that gave her a different path to LaCrosse.

“When we were looking at our sectional and how stacked the 200 and 100 are … we know how talented she is, and we wanted to find a place where she could excel,” North coach Kristin Torzala said. “It was the 300 hurdles.”

New to the event last year, Pryor took fourth in the Classic 8 Conference meet (47.53), then second at sectional (46.25) and finally sixth at state (45.68) with a school-record time.

“Obviously you’re not really sure when you start an event, and once you get more comfortable with it, you find where your strengths are and can really push yourself,” Pryor said. “There were people there that were the best in the state, so they’re obviously going to make me push myself more than I have been.”

She’ll look to improve upon that success in the 300 hurdles, with perhaps more in the 100 and even the long jump, a new discipline she began this year.

“I’ve been running the 100 since freshman year, and I was thinking out of all the events, I would have made it to state in that one,” she said. “But then I started hurdling, and once I actually got to the sectional, I realized I could make it to state, and I did. I think our sectional is just really competitive, and that’s why the 100 dash just isn’t very likely for me to get to state in.”

Romero and Adams are back this year, so the sectional will continue to be competitive. But Pryor will certainly be an athlete to watch, regardless of event.

“Since my freshman year, North has definitely gotten better,” Pryor said. “We went from being one of the weakest teams to getting stronger and stronger. I’m just hoping to carry on that.”