Cross Country’s State Meet Success

 In Athletics

Despite the hardships COVID-19 has presented this season, PCA’s Cross Country Teams ran hard and suffered minimal damage from the virus, ultimately enabling every runner to qualify for the State Meet at Oakville Indian Mounds Park! The boys, placing third at Sectionals, traveled together as a team, and the three girls, freshmen Sarah Birchmeier and Avery Rogers and seventh-grader Anna Lantz, all qualified as individuals.

This past Saturday, each runner was up bright and early, ready to race strong, and the results anticipate a bright future! Sophomores Cohen Palmore and Carson Roberson, the top two runners on the boys team, are getting steadily closer to beating the school record for the fastest 5K! As of this meet, the boys ran at 18:26.54 and 19:15.31, respectively, earning them 33rd and 53rd place out of 155 runners. There’s a lot of promise in these two athletes! Close behind them, Charlie Sikes achieved a personal record at the meet with a time of 20:11.33, and senior and team captain, Alex Holt, made it within the top 100 with the placement of 99th! His excellent time of 20:25.34 wraps up his final meet with a tremendous leap of over 15 minutes since his freshmen debut. Way to work hard! Next year, current juniors Chase Gay and Austin Jeffery, both with personal records around 21:25, will have a large gap to fill, but it will be exciting to see what wonders all of these superb athletes can accomplish!

Though short on runners to make an official team, which requires five runners, the girls’ team also saw phenomenal results for all of their hard work! Avery Rogers, a new teammate as of this season, is currently the fastest on the girls’ team with her outstanding personal record now set at 20:56.91. “Avery was only 17 seconds slower than our school record! That is an amazing accomplishment for a first-year freshman runner who has also been playing volleyball and basketball this year,” Ken Lantz, the team’s coach, remarked. Such a quick time even placed her within the top runners in the state, allowing her to walk away with a medal for 13th place out of 144 competitors! Moreover, Sarah Birchmeier earned a strong time of 24:22.83, and Anna Lantz, another new runner this year, was just 15 seconds away from a personal best of 25:14.19. With several years left to improve, all of the girls will be athletes to watch out for in the future. 

Lantz reflects back on the season with pride, saying, “I felt like this was one of our strongest teams that we have ever had. Our boys’ combined time at the Section Meet was faster than the combined PCA boys’ time from last year’s State Meet.” He goes on to mention the strength of the small girls’ team. With an official 5-person team, Coach says he has “a good feeling that they will be just as competitive at the state level as our boys. If you are a PCA girl reading this and think you might like to try Cross Country, please come out and run with us next year.” 

Congratulations to PCA’s Cross Country teams for their excellent performances this year! We cannot wait to see what the future holds for all of you!

Keep working hard, and Go Panthers!

By: Maddie Jeffery ’22
Journalism Student

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