As a sophomore, I knew I would make it to State as an individual, but I expected to return alone. The Liberty girls cross country team was ranked 7th going into Districts, and only the top 4 teams would make it. We all needed personal bests.
The Districts course included the most uphill I’d ever raced. My plan was to maintain my pace uphill and to coast the downhills faster than those besides me. I tend to improve my placement during a race, always passing, never being passed. My strategy worked, and I went from the middle of the pack to finish 2nd. I had been ranked 7th, so I was very pleased with my placement and my time of 19:36 on a challenging course. I stood by the finish line and cheered for the other girls.
I remember brimming with tears as I watched my teammates cross the finish line each placing incredibly well. We stood a chance, and we knew it. An agonizing 30 minutes later, we were told we’d made the cut and were going to state! This was one of the happiest days of my life. I felt so proud of my team. It wasn’t about me or that I had done well. It was that we had all had done well! It was amazing, and we bonded as a team, as a family.
Four months later, I was devastated when my track season ended due to coronavirus, but I continued to train because I enjoyed running and I wanted to improve for cross country. I’ve been lifting weights and running 6 days a week with 3 speed days included. I’ve gotten faster and have decreased my 1600 time to 5:10, although this time is unofficial since real competitions aren’t allowed in Washington State. I know I can get faster, especially if I had someone to race.
Recently I’ve realized college is creeping up on me, and I only have two more years of high school. I’m uncertain about where I want to go, but I know for a fact that running must be a part of my life. Running has given me a new family and a healthy lifestyle and has shaped me into who I am today. Plus, I’m very competitive and would love to compete an extra four more years after high school.