Girls Cross Country on the journey to state

"Every year is gonna be different, but we always end up feeling like a family during the summer and it's fun."-Alli Wharton, Varsity Cross Country runner

October 17, 2019

Alli Wharton— Image by Addi Birkes

After her first conference meet, first year girls cross country head coach Janell McKinney now has a third place victory under her belt, along with two runners placing in the top 10. Senior Alyna Thibault finished the race taking the 9th place spot and freshman I’yana Foster took the 10th, both earning First Team All-Conference at the meet. 

Coach McKinney and her team have enjoyed a positive season, bringing home lots of hardware and bragging rights. Though she’s new to the program, the girls were already familiar with McKinney, and that just made the close atmosphere of this team even stronger. 

“I’ve had [McKinney] before. I really like having her,” sophomore JV/Varsity runner Morgan Wood explained. “She’s more inclusive of both JV and Varsity and doesn’t just put all the focus on Varsity.”

Sophomore varsity runner Alli Wharton said that the whole team has grown tremendously since the start of the season. 

I’yana Foster— Image by Addi Birkes

“We have a lot of positive people on our team just trying to make sure everyone finishes the race or workout with a positive attitude,” Wharton said. “Every year is gonna be different because there won’t be the seniors, but we always end up feeling like a family during the summer and it’s fun.”

Wharton finished in 22nd at the conference meet, with a time of 21:12.6. Running alongside her was Kyla Weems (21st), Emma Wharton (23rd), Allison Bonham (26th), and Gwynevere Deterding (31st). The girls team finished in third, making their first postseason race very successful. 

One week prior to their conference meet, JV and varsity came home from the Grain Valley Sock it for Cancer with first place trophies, along with 10-15 personal medals total. Wood and Wharton both agreed that the performance provided the momentum they needed for postseason. 

Alyna Thibault— Image by Addi Birkes

The team goal for the remainder of the season is to make state and place while there. Moving forward, cross country athletes note that larger numbers would help their cause.

“We need more people. That’s all I want to say,” Wood said. 

Offseason track workouts start in January, and distance runners can attend XC summer workouts once track is over. 

The girls have JV and Varsity districts on the 26th in Lee’s Summit. This race will determine if their season is over, or if they arrive in Columbia on November 9th for state. Make sure to support this team on their journey to reach their goal.

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