The Cross Country season of Sarah’s Junior Year is now in the record books, literally! Here’s a recap of what happened since I last blogged about Cross Country.
Meet #10: Northwest Conference Championships
This race is a big deal. Lots of runners, lots of schools, all the very best runners get to race at this meet. (In some bigger schools, they “save” their top runners for the big meets…we don’t have that luxury at our school). The conference is made up of almost all the schools in Whatcom County, be it large or small.
Sarah had a great race at NWC, possibly her best of the year, and placed 9th overall, and PR’ed!
One of the guys showed up with fresh, homemade pretzels…
After the race the entire girls’ team came over for showers, pizza, and movie night. So fun!
Meet #11: Bi-Districts at South Whidbey High School
This was a new location for our District meet, and it was a mushy, sponge-like, slow course. This is the qualifying meet for state, nothing else earlier in the season matters. Top 20 individuals and top 4 schools advance to state. We knew our girls team would likely qualify and probably several individuals as well.
Here’s Sarah coming into the home stretch (this course went around the track a couple times). I love that you can see she wants to catch the girl in front of her and I love seeing Bethany cheering her on from behind.
Still trying to pass her. If she does, she’ll take 2nd place. If she doesn’t, she will have to settle for third.
At this point, I think Sarah could tell she was going to be able to pass her…
Yay, Sarah! Nice muddy legs!
Waiting together for the awards announcements
And the second place team!
And then it was #ONTOSTATE!!!
Meet #12: WIAA Class 1A State Championships, Sun Willows Golf Course, Pasco, WA
Big goals and dreams were in the making for state this year. Some came to be, and some did not. It was a weekend of ups and downs, disappointments and triumphs.
The day before the team left, there was a little surprise for the girls…last year’s team captain, and one of Sarah’s best friends, surprised them by flying home from Calvin for the state meet! I hosted a brunch at my house for the team the day before they left so that she could show up and surprise them there and tell them that she was going to go to state with them. Best. Surprise. Ever.
All these unsuspecting runners at my house…
I’m trying to non-chalantly take pictures of them so that I have my phone out and ready for the moment Marissa walks in the door…in the mean time she’s texting me and saying that “Kara posted a picture of me on Facebook! Don’t let them check their phones!” and I texted back, “Drive fast!!” Her mom was going 60 mph on the Badger…it was very exciting.
A sweet surprise reunion absolutely made their day and was a great send-off to the state meet!
The team left early Friday morning and we left shortly thereafter. I *really* wanted to have time to stop at the Thorpe Fruit & Antique Mall along the way and still be to Pasco in time for the team dress-up dinner at Olive Garden.
We made it! They had some very cool stuff and we had lots of fun looking around. The antiques were super expensive, so I had to be satisfied with pictures and we bought some fun food items like Habanero pickles (guess who picked out those?), handmade taffy, & dried fruit sticks.
It was a beautiful day for a drive and everything went so smoothly that we actually BEAT the team to the hotel (they went first to the course to check in, run the course, buy sweatshirts, etc.)
Me & my girl ready for dinner!
The team gets all dressed up for dinner and they have a fantastic time goofing around taking pictures!
The Three Captains!
This is their “super model” pose.
And then it was back to the hotel for some Ninja, sign-making, socializing, and rest (?).
And then it was race day.
And race day didn’t go like Sarah wanted. She was ranked 10th. She wanted 10th. Or better. Or to be in the top 16 that gets on the podium. Or to have what she felt was a good race. None of those worked out for her that day. She didn’t feel good. She was hurting. She had nothing left. She prayed and pushed through the race for the sake of her team, finishing 18th, with her heart disappointed, knowing that she was not going to achieve her dream that day. That’s a hard thing to watch. I stood by her coach at the end of the chute at the finish and we both just knew. She came out (finally) and came and cried on my shoulder. Her coach simply put his arm around her and hugged her back. Then she disappeared for a while and I wasn’t sure where she was or how she was doing. The rest of her team ended up having great races that day and pretty soon, Sarah’s sweet friend who had flown home from Calvin came up to me and said, “I just took Sarah on a walk and she’s good now. She’s back.” Never have I been more grateful for that girl. She’s wise beyond her years, that one…probably because she has known and come through her own set of disappointments on the cross country course. I was also grateful for her mom, because she supported me as a fellow “Mom of a disappointed runner.” When I found Sarah again, she was still, of course, disappointed, but she was there as team captain, supporting her team. That wise friend had said to her something along the lines of, “This is what God wanted for you today. Because in the end, it’s all about the team.” And in the end, it was. Because as the girls did their cool down, we learned that they had indeed placed as a team at state. And THEN we learned that they had not only placed, but they had placed THIRD, which was higher than their 4th place ranking, and the highest team place the girls cross country team had earned for our school since 1987 when they earned a second place trophy. The pure JOY on those girls’ faces, knowing they had come out and fought with everything they had, knowing their work together as a team for the past 3 months had fully paid off, knowing this was a glorious gift and moment…that joy was unforgettable. I am immensely proud of those girls for working so hard and for their commitment to their team and for the friendship that they have brought to Sarah and I am even more immensely proud of Sarah for her hard work, determination, leadership, kindness, and ability to handle disappointment and be there for her team.
Praying before the race…generally Coach doesn’t pray with the girls, but this time he did. That was a moment I am thankful I got to witness.
And they’re off!
After the race, with Marissa in the middle, before they found out they had won 3rd.
ON THE PODIUM!!
Tears of JOY now!!
Two more coaches that we love and admire and give thanks for daily
Thanks to my folks for coming to all Sarah’s meets and being her biggest fans!
And then the icing on the cake:
Cross Country got the biggest headline that week in the local town paper. Which is quite a feat. And that is all I have to say about that.
P.S. I know I said that the Haiti walk would be the next blog post…but I am having a fight with the new video editing software about that…