Highlights: Girls team 5th, qualified for State , Emilie Zengel 4th, Kaitlyn Strange-11th. Team Members: Emilie Zengel, Kaitlyn Strange, Noel Slone, Kennedy Johnson, Sophie Loesch, Abi Bauer, Grace Moloney.
Boys team: Three State Qualifiers: Noah Slone 8th, Adam Ruschman and Colin Grothaus
Going into Saturday’s race, we tried to prepare the way we have in the past: analyze other teams’ data, have our own mile splits in mind, aim for a personal record race…but that was difficult based on the lack of data from this season. One thing we knew for sure, was every runner was going to have to place quite a few spots higher than their ranking in order to qualify for state. Rather than focus on times and data, we focused on place in the race and packing in as tight as possible.
In the girls race, Emilie Zengel set out with specific people in mind to beat. She was laser focused and crushed her goal by finishing 4th overall, and also achieved her goal of beating her Cooper rival. Sophomore Kaitlyn Strange was the next Lady Camel to crush her place goal by finishing neck and neck with a tough Ryle competitor. Kaitlyn’s focus and determination put her in 11th place overall. Senior Noel Slone entered the race with intensity and determination, knowing her performance was a large factor in filling a gap for the ladies left by an injured teammate. Noel stepped up to that challenge and beat her goal by finishing in 23rd place and giving the team the lift they needed. Kennedy Johnson also stepped up in a big way by finishing almost right at her goal. She surged at key points to overtake her competitors, as well as finishing with her best 5K time of the season. Close on her heels, only 25 seconds behind, was Senior Sophie Loesch. Having Sophie healthy at this time of the season this year and able to finish strong as the 5th scoring lady was a large part of the team finish. Abi Bauer has continuously improved every race out and her attack on Saturday also pushed her to her best 5K time of the year. Senior Grace Moloney rounded out the Lady Camels squad for Saturday. We finished 5th overall. While not quite where our early season goals had us, the fact that these ladies put in the work every single day, kept a positive attitude, and continued to push each other is what helped them to qualify for the state meet as a team. We are so very proud of the tenacity, intensity, and ferocity that these ladies demonstrated Saturday!
Our goals in the boys race were similar. Each athlete had a place goal in mind to put us in the best position to qualify for state. Noah Slone has been breaking up the Cougar pack all season, and in the race Saturday set out to repeat that point. His 8th place finish was not quite what he had hoped, but was a solid 5K on a tough course, and his season best 5K time. Senior Adam Ruschman has slowly dialed up the seriousness level the past few weeks and has shown up to practice each day with resolve to make it to state. That was obvious in his race Saturday as he strained every muscle (we have the pictures to prove it) to overcome the runners near him and run another season best. Colin Grothaus also ran his season best race on Saturday, pushing to stay with Adam as long as he could. Aiden Bauer continued his consistent intense racing, and has shown that after a little more experience at the 5K distance, he will be a leader of the pack. Corey Robinson was the Camels 5th runner on Saturday fighting back and forth with a group of SK Pioneers. Ethan Schwalbach and Brady Baker rounded out the Camels on Saturday. As a team, the boys edged SK, but couldn’t quite get Dixie. We finished in 6th place, just missing our goal of top 5 and a state showing. Noah, Adam, and Colin having season best races were able to clinch 3 of the individual qualifying spots for state.
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