Sunday, November 8, 2009

My First State Qualifier

Yesterday at the Section 3 Cross-Country Champs we were very on edge going into the girls race. We knew that our top girl had a real shot to qualify for the state meet next weekend. She put tucked herself rite behind the leaders from the gun and made it her duty to stay with them. When she passed me at the 2k mark she looked pretty strong holding the last individual qualifying spot. I then sprinted across the field to catch her at the halfway mark of 2500m and gave her a few words of wisdom mainly saying "This is where the heart comes into play." I watched her go to the back loop and into the woods holding position, though it looked like people were closing on her. When she came back out peaking the muddy hill she still had the last spot in her grasp but there was one person closing on her and was within about 10m with about 600 to go. I got as close to her as I could and screamed at her that she has the spot and has to finish it now. She looked rite at me put her head down and went. Waiting for her to come down the final stretch was very nerve racking. Finally she came into the stretch with the same lead and I just got scared because there is nothing worse than getting out-kicked in the final 100m, especially when a spot to the state meet is on line. Finally with about 50m left she kicked it into overdrive and crossed the line for a 6th place finish and 5th after displacement of the team that won. Most importantly a free T-Shirt and a trip to Plattsburgh for the NYSPHSAA Cross-Country Champs. When I first saw her after the race she just said thank you to me and said that if I did not scream with 600 to go she may not have got it. That made me feel great about myself and made me realize that I really did have an effect on this athletes success. It makes me excited about the future and the next 40 years of coaching. I hope that this is the first of many state qualifiers and will hopefully lead to a Team Qualification and maybe even some hardware at the state meet.

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