Girls’ cross country team wins NAC-VI title, places third in region


Liz Wilburn

Junior Erin Spreen leads the field on senior night. Spreen was the lead runner for the girls all season.

Mary Allen

For the first time in coach Patrick Marshall and Erin Mercer’s tenure, the girls’ cross country team won their conference and placed third at regionals.

“I think the season is going pretty well because we won conference, and we are now going to state, which is a really big accomplishment,” junior and first place runner Erin Spreen said.

The goal at the beginning of the season was to improve, since the team fell short of qualifying for states in 2016.

Not only did they achieve the team goal, but many achieved their personal goals as well.

“My goal was to PR, and I did it. My new goal is to break 20 minutes, and I haven’t done that yet, but I have one more meet, so hopefully I can do it at states,” senior Natalie Mitchell said.

The team has been working hard for the past few weeks in preparation for the state championship.

They practice every day after school, and sometimes run together on weekends. They often run intervals, which are bursts of high-intensity running, and progressive runs to build up endurance.

“I do intervals and run consistently, every day,” Spreen said. “I do a lot of mileage and some days I’ll do sprint workouts.”

Intense practices are followed by cool down exercises and stretches.

As well as diligently attending practice, there are other techniques the runners use to prepare for a successful race.

“Just get a good night’s sleep and eat well,” junior Tyler Bland said.

In addition to the experienced runners, those who are new to the team have let their talents shine.

“The new runners have stepped up in a major way,” Mercer said. “We had numerous new runners step up and run varsity at big meets, and they continue to push our returning runners to improve.”