Lady Highlanders retain high expectations for upcoming state competition

By Samanta Garcia

The months of conditioning and challenging practices have resulted in the Lady Highlanders cross country team to have advanced far with their season and with their hopes.

The team has had a lucrative season so far, and have their sights set on higher prospects.

“My expectations are for us to be top 10 this weekend. Our girls understand and accept what it takes to be a top 10 program. They are willing to do the work not just in season but year round to be great athletes. That’s why we’re racing this weekend for a top 10 spot at state,” said head coach Carl Hook.

The girls have worked on lowering their times and improving themselves since early summer.

“We have worked really hard and for a long time. We started conditioning in June,” said junior Lydia Kotowski.

The hard work over the summer months has paid dividend to the success throughout the season, along with the arrival of the freshman class.

Senior Gabby Rodriguez said that the excellent work they did in the summer has affected the success of the season, as well as the talented freshman class, which has been a huge asset to the young team’s success.

Freshman Faith Barba said that being an addition to the varsity team has been very overwhelming, but that it’s a big privilege to be on such a great team, with great girls to always keep pushing her when she has days that she doubts herself.

The team hopes to carry their strong relationship to a successful state competition, which has been etched in their minds since the beginning of the season.

Rodriguez  shares her desire to perform well in state, despite their performance in the Brown County semi-state.

“As a team, we didn’t perform as well as we wanted to at semi-state so we are preparing to make a comeback at state. The team has worked so hard and we wanted to end the season with a bang. We are just doing what we do all season; taking care of business.”

A successful state meet in, Terre Haute, would require an immense amount of work that the team is ready to put to get the results they are aiming for. Their previous success as HHC sectionals champions, regular team champions, seven girls made AII sectional, seven girls made AII regional, and three made it to semi-state.

Senior Melanie Combs said, “Our coaches constantly remind us, ‘No excuses,’ so this weekend is not necessarily racing the fastest time of the season, but about getting out there and racing hard so that, at the end, everyone can say she gave it her best. This weekend is about places, not times. As a team, we want to be in the top 10. Personally, I just want to go out there and race harder than I’ve raced before. I also hope to qualify for the All-Star senior meet in Ohio on Nov. 15.”

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