Review of Cross Country’s season

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On October 23, 2021, the girls’ varsity cross country team qualified for state by placing fourth in their region meet. The boys’ team unfortunately fell short of qualifying. Both teams have put in so much effort over this past season, and their coaches are extremely proud of how they have improved. The athletes bettered, not only as a team, but also as individuals. Even though the boys did not make it to state, they are still extremely proud of their teammates, and they are filled with so much joy for the girls’ team. They know how hard they have worked and were ready to cheer them on at state.

The boys’ varsity team placed sixth overall and had an average time of 18 minutes and 18 seconds at regions for their three-mile run. 47 varsity boys ran in the meet, and Winder-Barrow finished first out of the seven schools who competed. Lanier freshman Dylan Stone led the team with a time of 17 minutes and 20 seconds for the three mile run. The boys’ team continued to support the girls team as the girls prepared and ran at state.

“We could’ve ran as a group and worked together more rather than just worrying about our own individual times,” says Andrew Popp when asked what the boys’ team could’ve done differently to qualify for state.

Although some may think of running as an individual sport, as you are running to try and break your previous personal record, it is really about you depending on your teammates to push you. You might feel like giving up while running for yourself, but when you realize that you would be letting your team down, it motivates you to continue performing. Popp finished the 5,000 meeter run in 40th place out of 47 runners with a time of 19 minutes and 55 seconds. Out of the seven varsity boys from Lanier, Popp finished fifth. Although he is disappointed that the boys team did not make it, he is proud of how hard they have worked throughout the season.

As previously mentioned, the girls’ varsity team placed fourth overall in the region meet. Buford placed first, Dacula placed second, Winder-Barrow placed third, and Habersham Central placed fifth. There were 35 varsity girls who ran in the meet, and Lanier had an average time of 23 minutes and 10 seconds.The girls’ team ran extremely hard, and their dedication to that race paid off greatly.

“My heart really just jumped for joy. There was just this immense feeling of happiness and excitement that was filling my body,” states Emely Carbajal when asked how she felt when she realized the girls’ cross country team made it to state.

Carbajal finished first out of the seven varsity girls from Lanier who competed in the region meet with a time of 22 minutes and five seconds. Due to an injury to Carbajal’s knee, she was not able to participate at state. However, she was still there to support her team.
Carbajal described the season, “It’s been really hard. I feel like everybody has worked extremely hard this year. There’s been a lot of heartbreak, but it’s also been a really fun season, getting to know new people.” Carbajal has done an amazing job this season and even though she was not able to compete, she came prepared to cheer on her team at state.
“It’s been a rough season so far, we’ve had a lot of minor injuries between runners like shin splints and fractures,” replies Ava Bowman when asked what this season has been like.
Despite this season taking a mental and physical toll on all of the athletes, they have stayed committed to their sport and are proud of how far they have come this season. Bowman finished the region meet with a time of 24 minutes and 27 seconds. She also competed in state and finished 179 out of 196 runners, with a time of 27 minutes and five seconds, in the 6A division. Bowman was also the only freshman from Lanier who ran at state and did astoundingly for her first state meet. Bowman has many more years to perfect her running craft at Lanier and will continue to do great things in cross country.
At state, there were 33 girls teams competing in Lanier’s division, and the seven girls from Lanier who ran had an average time of 26 minutes. Sophomore, Prielle Zaft, finished first out of the athletes from Lanier with a time of 23 minutes and 56 seconds. The team’s times were relatively close as they have learned to work together over the season, training with all they have to make sure their last meet together was their best.
We wish the best of luck to our cross country team in their future seasons. The cross country coaches and fellow athletes hope that the seniors leaving will continue to do whatever fulfills their hearts, whether it’s staying with cross country or expanding into other areas. The younger athletes truly appreciate the seniors who have helped them grow over their past seasons, and hope that their future experiences are everything they hope it to be.