Elk County Catholic senior Kennedy Weisner enters her final year of XC with a champion's resume. Her best year to date was last year as a junior when she won her first state cross country title - this one in the inaugural Class A Championship. Weisner also qualified for her first Foot Locker Nationals. During indoor, she was invited to her first Millrose Mile, and also to the Brooks PR meet, an elite gathering in the Northwest. She came back in outdoor to capture two state AA titles, winning the 800 and the 1600 - a very tough double. She began her final XC season at PTXC-5, setting a course record of 17:49.
On Saturday, my team and I had our district meet. A week ago, the forecast was predicting snow, and on Thursday morning, we all woke up to find snow on the ground. Although it all melted quickly, it continued to flurry throughout the day, making for a very cold practice. Two years ago, we had snow for our district meet, and I was half expecting that to happen again this year. However, on Saturday morning there was no snow! Instead, we just had temperatures in the low 30s and some fierce winds.
Going into the meet, we knew that the team race was going to be close, but we really wanted to pull out the win again. Our district course can be challenging, and there is a rather long hill that we climb twice. It is over a half a mile long each time, and the two mile mark is at the very top after the second ascent. On Friday, we talked about getting to the top of the hill and then really claiming that last mile. Since there are eight girls on our team, we made the goal of collectively passing at least eight people in the final mile, not counting the last one hundred meters. Between the seven of us that ran, we ended up passing a total of nine people, plus a few in the last stretch that we didn't count.
All of the girls on my team had spectacular races and they really put up a great fight. We were able to take the first two individual places between myself and my teammate, Tori. Lauryn placed 12th, and she has really solidified herself as a solid number three even though she is a freshman and this only her first year running cross country. Nicole has been suffering some health issues all season, but she really pulled through for us on Saturday and placed 24th overall. Ellie was our number five girl, and she ran with some newfound confidence. She said she went home on Friday night and visualized her race, and it seems that it worked! Ali was not too far behind Ellie, and she had her best race of the season! She always pulls through for us when it counts, and it was because of her that our team was able to win districts the past two years. Our final girl came across the finish line was Maria, and she actually "won" our passing challenge, as she passed four girls in the final mile. Our eighth girl, Maddi, was finally able to start running again this past week after being out for most of the season with a stress fracture!
It was nerve wracking to wait for the results, but I was kind of at peace because I knew that we truly put forth our best efforts. It turns out that we were able to pull out the win by a single point over North Clarion. I personally did not have the best race, but this was due in part to the fact that I trained through districts. Despite this, I had some high goals, but I truly wasn't expecting to feel as bad as I did. I felt fine warming up, but within the first 50 meters of the race I was already feeling pretty bad. I thought that maybe I would feel better in a mile, because sometimes in this kind of situation I do, but that was not the case on Saturday.
Most of our boys team is done now, except for Drew, who qualified for states individually. The three freshman boys on the team, Vincent, Zach, and Ben, worked incredibly hard this season, and I am so excited to see how they improve over the next three years!
After "making it big on penntrack" in my last journal, there was a request from my dad, Lauryn's dad, and Nicole's dad to be featured once again. Stay tuned for next week, as they plan to coordinate their outfits at states!
Good luck to everyone running at states this weekend. It is going to be an awesome day of running!