Girls Cross Country Finishes Strong: the Faces Behind a Phenomenal Season

Aubrey Hall and Sita Ahlen

Upon stepping off of the activity bus with the cross country team on Saturday, October 24, one thing was immediately apparent: the heat. Near eighty degree temperatures accompanied by unrelenting sunlight are not usually considered ideal running conditions. On top of this, the Manitou girls’ fastest runner, Brooklyn Mack (9), had contracted the flu, and made the decision not to race in the interest of her health.

“It really sucked because the team worked so hard to get there and I was really looking forward to running in the state meet. That was really hard for me,” Mack said, “but what made it okay was seeing how happy Maddie [Dyer] was when she got to run. At first she didn’t want to, but afterward she was really happy and to see that just made it all okay.”

As the race began, the runners kicked up an exorbitant amount of dust as they ran. This, in combination with the heat and sunlight, may have been an explanation as to why the girls did not do quite as well as they had at previous meets. The team’s average time was 26:13.3. Despite these obstacles, each girl finished the race strong, with Jenn Cole placing within the top 40% of over 140 runners.

Regardless of the small blips encountered at the 2014 state championships, the girls had a stellar season this year.

“I think the team did phenomenally this year,” said Madeline Dyer (11) “Everyone pushed each other and made goals as a team and really bonded. The girls made it to state for these reasons.”

This year’s girls team was a particularly young one, with only two upperclassmen, both of which are juniors. Additionally, some of the team’s fastest runners were freshmen. Brooklyn Mack (9), was ranked at 6th in the league alongside Kaitlyn Davidson (9) who achieved 16th. Up until state championships, every girl on the team was ranked within the top 50 runners in the league. Every girl was able to keep her time under 30 minutes and 10 seconds throughout the season.

All in all, through illness, heat, and various other obstacles, the girls persevered this season. It will be interesting to see what happens next year, based on the immense progress made throughout this season.