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Boys cross country team finishes 14th at State

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The boys cross country team made history by qualifying for the State competition as a team for the first time in school history, placing 14th out of 16 teams at the meet on Nov. 6. 

The weekend prior to the State meet, the team competed in the Class 4 District 2 meet on Oct. 31. They placed second, which allowed them to qualify as a team to the State competition. 

The State team consisted of the following seven athletes: sophomores Max Pajewski and Quentin Tibbs, juniors Gabriel Luaders, Arnav Purshottam, and Calvin Lackey, and seniors Bryce Batcheller, and Sam Bradshaw. Coach Erin Hopkins said that she was very proud of her athletes for making it to the State meet and that they have prepared the way that they have been doing all season.

“Just do the same thing that you have been doing all season because it is just another race. Enjoy the day and run your best,” Hopkins said.                                                                                                                                                Purshottam said that he followed Hopkins advice and incorporated visualization of how he was going to feel at the State meet into his preparation. 

“The past two weeks we haven’t been going too hard. It is more about relaxing, going on long runs, and really thinking about the mental aspect of it by just visualizing yourself in the race,” Purshottam said “Who you are going to stay along with, how you are going to pass in the first, second, or third mile, and just keeping up the momentum, not falling behind, and not blowing yourself out. So I think that we just wanted to visualize how we were going to feel at State and I think that it went pretty well.”

Similarly, Bradshaw said that he felt happy about his race performance. Bradshaw said he spent a lot of time thinking about his race and that he wanted to go out with a bang and to just have fun since it was the last run of his high school career.

“I am really happy that I just got to run in State. I know that this season I was really not used to running more in the back because we have been running against teams in our district rather than teams in our class. So I have been used to running up there in the top 20 or top 10. So this race was really eye opening because I went out in the front and did not finish in the front. It is my last race, I don’t really care how I did. I am happy that I got to do it,” Bradshaw said. 

Purshottam said that he felt great about his race performance and that competing at this meet was both a great honor and opportunity. 

“This is my first year running cross country and I actually joined six weeks late. I really had no intention of being on the varsity team. So being at State was a big opportunity for me and just competing against some of the best people in the state is an honor and that was my goal. Today it wasn’t my best race of the season but I felt pretty good and I helped my team get 14th out of 16th which we seeded better than what we expected,” Purshottam said.

Before racing in the State meet, Bradshaw said that when he was standing on the starting line before the race, he was focused more on his surroundings rather than any expectations that he had for himself. 

“I was super relaxed. I was out here to have fun and run my last race of my high school career [and enjoy] being a part of the first boys team to ever run at State in Summit history. I am just trying to soak in everything that I can so that I can have this vivid memory of being here and getting this experience,” Bradshaw said. 

Even though Hopkins was very proud of her athletes for making it to the State competition, she said there are also several aspects that could be worked on to prepare for next cross country season. 

“We need to run more in the summer and during the offseason and then hopefully Covid is gone and we get to use the weight room more often,” Hopkins said. 

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