Girls cross country competes at State

By Matthias Miles, Staff Writer — The girls’ cross country team has looked to make it to state from early on in the season, and this past Saturday they placed 10th overall at the state meet.

“With five of the seven girls who ran at the state meet last year returning this year, I expected we could make it to state again,” varsity runner Hannah Thompson said.

The girls’ cross country season officially started in Aug. but they had some conditioning over the summer. Their goal was to make it back to state again this year after finishing 11th in 2013.

“I knew from the beginning that we had the ability to make it to [the] state meet. We just had to put in the work, which everyone did,” varsity runner Jetaiya Smith said.

Their season was full of troubles that affected the team in both a positive and negative way.

“Between injuries, illness and ACT testing, [the team was] rarely at full strength but it gave other girls opportunities to run in varsity races, which definitely made our team better. We had a lot of depth on our team since more girls got varsity race experience,” Thompson said.

A varsity race consists of the top seven runners from each team. With the problems that have occurred amongst the school’s varsity runners, more girls were able to run varsity. With more girls running varsity, the team was able to build more depth.

To get to state this year, the girls had to be in the top four teams at the regional meet. Last year the girls took second place, but this year they were regional champions. Going into state, they expected more from the team this year with five runners from last year returning.

“Last year, we only had one girl who had ever ran in a cross country state meet so when we got the opportunity to go again this year we were even more focused on the fun parts,” Smith said.

A state cross country meet consists of the top four varsity teams from each region of the state and also anyone who is within the top 16 runners at the regional meet. The top four teams from each region are decided at the regional cross country meet. The decision is made off of the four lowest scoring teams.

The first five runners from each team to cross the finish line receive the points that correspond to their place. The first place runner receives one point, the second place runner two, and so on. The team receiving the lowest score wins.

This year, the girls’ cross country team finished 10th in the state. The girls team was led by senior Hannah Thompson with a time of 19:27.64. Other runners included senior Jetaiya Smith, junior Emma Svatos, and sophomores Lauren Lautzenheiser, Emma Harmon, Grace Werren, and Hannah Werren. Their final score was 232, just two points behind Medina at 230.

In this meet, five of the seven girls ran the best time they ever had. This is one of the reasons that the girls ranked higher in the state than the season before.

“We ran really well at state. All seven girls ran season best times and five ran the best time of their lives,” Thompson said.

Next season five varsity runners will be returning to the team very much like this past year. The team is looking to make it back to state three years in a row. Next year, there will only be one varsity senior and four juniors if all the state runners run next year. The team hopes this will set up a dynasty.

“I think we will have a strong team. Not as solid as this year, but still strong,” varsity runner Emma Harmon said.

The school now looks to the future to see what it will hold.

[Updated Aug. 8, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]