This meet only features individual distance events (800, 1600, and 3200) and has time cut-offs. This is the first year that we had a runner who was eligible--Audrey earned a spot with her speedy 5:15 mile time from Carthage.
The temperature was nearly perfect as the sun set, but the wind gusts were still significant. Audrey made it into the "main event" portion of the meet (there were 3 heats before her in the "undercard." She was in a perfect heat to push her toward a PR, and her mindset was in the right place! Our plan was that she would sit tucked into the pack for the first 2-3 laps, letting the other girls do the work of taking the wind and setting the pace, and then she would make a move if she felt good. When the gun sounded, Audrey placed herself in an almost perfect spot: she was tucked into the pack nicely, but her long stride meant that the girls behind her kept stepping on her feet. She kept her composure for the first three laps, looking smooth as can be! I was so impressed by her splits: 73, 78 (2:32), 79 (3:51), 80 (5:11.77--9th place in her heat). I am SO proud of Audrey's performance. She could have let the day overwhelm her--she has not had anyone really challenge her in the mile all season. She used to running in the front, for sure! This race featured people all around her ability, so she had to endure a tight pack throughout the race, and she handled it like a pro! She also just got out of her own way and let herself show off her fitness. Her mindset and her hard work all season paid off with a spectacular race! The side effect of all of this positivity is that she broke the school record by nearly a second. The previous record of 5:12.6 was held by Kerri Norris for 40 years (1982). After Audrey's amazing race at Carthage, I sent her a screenshot of the record. Her reply? "could've beat that if I didn't stop at the waterfall :'(" While I asked her to appreciate the huge PR and keep the target in mind for future races, I do appreciate that Audrey is always looking to improve.
Congrats on such a FUN race to watch, Audrey! It never gets old watching you take risks and challenge yourself! And congrats on being the school record holder for XC and now the 1600.
To all of you reading: I would love to bring more racers to this meet next year, and I would CERTAINLY love to see more of our records fall. Check out the list here! We have a RICH tradition of impressive performers. Let's honor the athletes that came before us by working to reach their level of excellence!