This year’s JO nationals felt more momentous than any of the other three years we’ve coached the team. Part of it was their strength…we dominated at regionals, with five runners in the top 20; part of it was the far-flung nature of the event…as we traveled to Alabama for the big day; and part of it was the feeling of closure. As exhilarating as this experience as been, we’re not sure we’ll do it again in the Fall of 2011. The pressures of start-up ville have been so consuming and intense. And yet…connecting with young runners. Isn’t that why we’re doing this?
The race itself was classic cross country. Not so much the terrain…which was dry and gravelly. But rather the race experience and how much it takes, both emotionally and physically, to run strong in this sport. And run strong these girls did. Each and every one gave it their all – even though some didn’t “have their day” in terms of how they felt. The fact that they didn’t give up, and kept pushing, resulted in an astounding 3rd place finish – against 26 teams nationwide!
The finish line was a wild mix of emotions as the runners regrouped. Smiles, tears, laughter, relief…and finally, the news. It was 3rd and they were on the podium. After that, it was all joy, hugs and smiles. What can I say? We’re so proud of them. They worked hard, they trained weekly in Woodland Park where the mud and hills are unrelenting. And they reaped the rewards. Bottom line: these girls will go far, in part because they already have.
See more photos of the meet at Oiselle's Flickr Page.