Junior Varsity girls contribute to cross country sweep

Hannah Loub, Staff Writer

Positive energy and team unity contributed to the girls Junior Varsity cross country win on Saturday at the Manhattan Invitational. 

The girls finished first out of eight teams with a score of 21 points. Senior Mady McCollough finished first, running the race with a time of 17:13.1. Junior Josie Koppes and fellow senior Emily Stewart followed with times of 18:05.1 and 18:12.5, third and sixth place overall. 

“I’ve never run the 4K, but I felt good,” McCollough said. “My goal this year is to run a 20-minute 5K.”  

Junior Josie Koppes has a similar goal this year, saying she “wants to run a 20 to 21-minute 5K” this season and “push herself to her limit.” 

They ran their 4K race, or 2.5 miles, at Warner Park. Due to the hills, Warner is one of the most difficult courses for runners.

“When you add the hills and the heat, it’s one of our most challenging courses, but it’s beautiful,” head coach Susan Melgares said. “And, you know, the toughness is kind of part of the fun.” 

She also mentioned that what she sees from her team is a lot of positive energy and team unity, a reflection of past years. 

An example of team unity was demonstrated after the race when senior Emily Stewart passed out scrunchies she had made for the team. 

“It gives us a feeling of solidarity and we feel connected,” sophomore Kyla Barnett said. 

Scrunchies aren’t the only thing that bonds the team.

“We do quite a lot. We go to breakfast together after practices and go on smoothie runs,” Barnett said. “We have pasta parties where we make friendship bracelets and play games like sardines. We also made tie-dyes and have movie nights.”

With such a strong start, the team is hopeful for a successful season. Their next meet is Sept. 22 in Joplin, Missouri.