Ladybirds run to state victory

Megan Gessner, Staff Writer

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“WE WON AGAIN!” said Ruby Smith, seventh grader. The Girls’ Cross Country Team won its 5th state title, and this is only the team’s sixth year running and competing for the state title. As a bonus, Mr. Aaron Lense, Girls’ Cross Country Coach was awarded “Middle School Coach of the Year.”

Mr. Lense said, “It feels great to be awarded Coach of the Year, but really the runners are who earned the title. Whenever Coach Alessandro or I get Coach of the Year recognition, we consider it a Team of the Year award instead.”

Many of the girls made the first or second all-region team for their age group, including Ruby Smith. She said, “I have only been running since last year, and it’s like a second family to me. It made me feel good, when we won, because I know that all of the work we put in as a team finally paid off.”

The Cross Country Team put a lot of effort and work into the season. They practiced five days a week during the school year. To prepare for the state meet at the end of the season, the runners and coaches have to give it all they had, not only at meets but at every practice too. The coaches have a big part in helping to prepare the runners for state. Mr. Lense said, “Coach Alessandro and I took the same approach that we have in previous years training the runners this year. We always start the summer off with just getting easy miles in and doing core exercises. We want them to get used to running for a long distance and just get their bodies in running shape. As the meets start to take place, we incorporate speed workouts in to the practices. The idea is that we build a base during the summer and work on speed throughout the season, in hopes of peaking for Regionals and State.” Coach Alessandro said, “As the head coach, I am responsible for writing the workouts and training plans we follow throughout the season. It’s important that the athletes are physically prepared at the right time, their peak fitness.”  Also, this year, Coach Alessandro was named high school coach of the year.

Laney Smith, sixth grader, was the sixth grade regional champ at the state meet. She said, “I feel so happy and accomplished that I won because this is my first year on the team. I know I ran the best I could and I pushed myself.” Most people have a motivation to run. Laney Smith said her sister was her motivation to run because of a problem with Ruby’s heart.  She said, “Ruby motivates me to run because when she was little she had a devastating heart disease and our family made a group called Ruby’s Runners. Now, I run for Ruby.” But on the other hand, Ruby Smith runs to win! “Winning motivates me to run because it makes me feel good about myself and accomplished.” Ruby Smith said.

All the runners were so excited that they won. Lilli Hoffmeister sixth grader said, “It makes feel so happy that we won because we practiced a lot and prepared for a long time.”

Accomplishments:

6th grade Regional Champion – Laney Smith

1st Team All-Region:

Laney Smith

Kate Jamie

Lilli Hoffmeister

2nd Team All-Region:

Adrienne Harris

Ava Meyer

7th /8th 2nd Team All-Region:     

Ruby Smith

Middle School Coach of the Year – Aaron Lense

High School Coach of the Year – Brian Alessandro

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