After moving to the 6A class, girls win first state cross country title in school history

The boys finished out the season in fourth place at the state cross country meet on Saturday, Oct. 27

Jonathan Atchley

Ally Nguyen, JagWire editor-in-chief

The girls cross country team won the school’s first state title Saturday, Oct. 27 at Rim Rock Farm. Running in 6A for the first time, the team scored  41 points, and freshman Katie Schwartzkopf finished first with a time of over 20 seconds faster than the second place finisher.

The boys placed fourth with a score of 109.

According to head coach Chris McAfee, the team has been held to high standards all season, so focus has been placed on normalizing the state meet and remembering “it’s just another race.”

“We just kept talking about how it was a regular race and you just have to be yourselves and if somebody can beat us, they can beat us,” McAfee said. “Because of the race times we focused just a little bit more on hydration and food for today and make sure they had the fuel they needed to race well. They executed it perfectly.”

Senior Delaney Kemp, who placed fourth individually, agrees with McAfee that the meet needed to be normalized in order to calm any nerves. Her expectations were still high nonetheless.

“The state meet went amazing. It went exactly how we wanted it to, according to plan. A lot of girls broke through and did a lot better and it was fun to see girls do so great,” Kemp said. “I expected to get on the podium with our girls because that’s all we wanted this season. Sometimes you have to expect greatness in order to achieve it.”

Schwartzkopf, on the other hand, “didn’t know what to expect” because it’s her first year on the team and the end result was shocking to her.

“I think [state] went amazing. I believed in my teammates and that they would do well, [but] I was just not expecting to win overall,” Schwartzkopf said. “But I knew as a team we were going to get first, I could just feel it and I’m just very happy.”

As far as the boys team, senior Matthew Turner, who led the boys team with a 13th place finish, believes the season went well.

“The overall season went better than I expected. When it started out, a little bit, I just wasn’t where I wanted to be but as the season went on I think I was able to hold my own against a bunch of guys I have looked up to over the last couple years. I’m really happy with that,” Turner said. “As a team I think we could have done better. There were just some people that didn’t have their day; the past week has been hard for a couple of our guys. Overall, I’m not mad at anyone, I think we all did our best.”

For Schwartzkopf, the experience has been one-of-a-kind, but she mostly appreciates the bonds she’s gained through the team.

“Being together every single day is how we bond,” Schwartzkopf said. “We always get in our team huddles and talk it out, and we have so much fun at practice [by] laughing and telling stories.”

Kemp, who has been on the state team for four years, feels this season is a testament to the growth of the cross country team.

“This year, the pieces just came together,” Kemp said. “Last year we came so close, but this year everything just finished how it was supposed to.”

Looking towards the future, McAfee hopes next year will yield similar, if not better, results.

“We are only losing one senior boy and one senior girl. I think the guys are going to be a lot better now that they have the experience this year. The girls are such a responsible group, this will be one of those things that will just make them hungry to probably try to do this again next year,” McAfee said. “The future looks bright, and it’s a year away. We have got to stay healthy and train and be consistent and work on all that kind of stuff, but it’s good.”

Girls Results: First Place Overall
Freshman Katie Schwartzkopf, first: 18:19.50

Senior Delaney Kemp, fourth: 19:05.20

Sophomore Molly Ricker, 10th: 19:36.80

Junior Morgan Koca, 15th: 19:53.50

Sophomore Josie Taylor, 19th: 20:06.60

Junior Jenna Walker, 31st: 20:34.30

Junior Molly Haymaker, 38th: 20:48.00

Boys Results: Fourth Place Overall

Senior Matthew Turner, 13th: 16:26.20

Junior Jack Terry, 15th: 16:28.90

Junior Darius Hightower, 25th: 16:46.40

Junior Nicholas Schmidt, 46th: 17:04.00

Junior Nathan Greenfield, 48th: 17:05.90

Sophomore Carsyn Turpin, 50th: 17:08.10

Junior Josh Mansfield, 98th: 18:31.40

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