The 2020 cross country season was a year of success and improvement for the girls. By training throughout the whole summer, running almost every day, they were ready to take on the season. In order to make it to regionals by the end of the season, the girls had a long road ahead of them. Even though races are 3.1 miles, their training consisted of running up to about 8 miles. In 90 degree weather, rain, or in the dark, they trained hard and it showed throughout the season. All of their hard work and dedication would eventually lead them to the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) Regional Race where they placed 9th out of 17 teams.
After a long summer of training, the girls were ready to race in the Woods and Mud Invitational. The course was very hilly and uneven, so the race would be a battle. Sophomore Kayla Sucharski led the Pioneers in the race by placing 14th with a time of 20:35 and the team placed 3rd overall. They were 2 points away from placing 2nd over Lancaster. This was a great race for the Pioneers and they continued to improve as the season went on.
Their next race was at Dublin Jerome in the Celtic Clash where they placed 5th. Even though it was not the overall result they had hoped for, they learned a lot from this race. Senior Medha Patria and Freshman Mairin O’Brien were among some of the runners who earned new PR’s from this race. However, this would not be the last time they would PR as they would both break 20 minutes before the season ended. Overall, Patria led the team in this race by placing 14th. With the team already improving within the first few races, they knew this season would be special and successful as it progressed.
One of the team’s best races this season was the Berlin Bear Den Dash. O’Brien led the team by placing 9th with a time of 19:55. This was her first time ever breaking 20 minutes and O’Brien described this race as her best. “My best race was probably the race at Berlin, that’s when I first broke 20 minutes and right when I crossed the finish line, I broke down into tears because I was so tired and mentally exhausted.” This was the first huge milestone of O’Brien’s cross country year and she is looking to PR even more next season.
Patria also broke 20 minutes this year in the Leis Eisenhart Invitational. She placed 6th with a time of 19:52 and the team finished 3rd overall. All of the team’s hard work would eventually pay off and lead them to regionals. The regionals were the race just before states. The girls prepared for regionals by stretching and icing daily and they had a motto for the season. It was, “The pain of regret after the race is much bigger than the pain during the race.” This motto pushed the girls because they thought that if they didn’t run there hardest during the race, they would regret it once they crossed the finish line. No matter how tired they were, they always finished their races with their heads held high.
Even though they didn’t qualify for states, they raced very well throughout the entire season. Everyone on the team achieved new PR’s and they learned a lot through injuries, training, and a long season. Once the season came to an end, the girls were happy to see how much they improved. O’Brien described the end of the season as, “I was so happy and satisfied to see my hard work pay off.”
The girls certainly had a great season, but they are eager for more success next year. They will be looking forward to not only achieving new PR’s, but also winning meets, and hopefully making it to States. After a long season, they are now in recovery/training mode where they will keep running to stay ready for next season, while also resting and healing their bodies.
By: Kayla Delmore