After a great week of practice, including a strong run at the course on Wednesday, I knew our two freshies were ready to race. Mother Nature, now tired of cooking us to death on race day, decided to turn the thermostat down. We witnessed the first snowflakes of this season during our drive to the course, and we felt more of them during the warm up and race. Kelsey and Maya seemed undeterred by this latest weather twist, however, and took to the business of warming up like business as usual.
On the starting line, I was excited to see what our bees would do. At the gun, they both got out hard, and I was happy with their placement by the 800 mark. Kelsey was a the back of the "front" group in about 33rd place, and Maya was further back in her more conservative and successful-for-her way. The turn going down the hill was especially muddy, and I could see both bees adapt to this unsure footing without too many problems. However, in the second loop, I could see the experience of the pack do some work on our newbees. Both lost some of their initial ground, despite fast first miles. I am pleased to report that Kelsey and Maya kept their heads in the race, however. They both had good last miles, using the final downhill to their advantages, and using the fans to help propel them to great kicks. Kelsey finished in an impressive 19:07--only seconds off of her previous best on a much quicker Lake Forest course. Maya finished in a solid 21:37, a bit off of her previous week's work, but she seemed to come away with a new appreciation of what it takes to be successful at this level.
I was happy to watch these two embrace the support of their team, and I am proud of how they conducted themselves under the pressure of a speedy race. I know this race knowledge will help them grow as leaders for next year!
Shout out to Avedis for a great effort in the men's race, and Collin for nabbing the last individual spot to advance to the State Meet for the second year in a row--an honor NO OTHER ZBXCer has ever accomplished. I hope you returnees have watched Collin and have learned from him. He has started a new tradition of greatness that I do NOT want to let die.
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