The Stars were ranked 13th out of 16 teams based on season average times going into the race. Their times in Joplin the week pior were insanely fast, with girls averaging new personal records of 61 seconds off their previous best times. When they ran the Joplin course last Friday, those that had GPS watches all measured it just a little bit short of a 5K, with three people measuring it as 3.08 miles when running all the tangents, the way a course is supposed to be measured. Based on season best times that included Joplin times, the Stars were ranked 6th out of 16 teams going into state. Being ranked somewhere between 6th and 13th made it difficult to pinpoint exactly where the team would expected to finish but that didn’t make any difference in the race strategy. The strategy was the same as always, to try to run splits as even as possible and move up throughout the race. Most runners start out way too fast at the state meet and the coaches told the girls to be patient and run their race. The State course has timing mats every kilometer so they would have exact times and places for each kilometer.
The Stars started out in a pack, with all seven of them within a spread of 5.2 seconds at the first kilometer mark. At the kilometer mark, they were in 15th place with 361 points, at the 2 kilometer mark they were in 14th place with 321 points, at the 3 kilometer mark they were in 13th place with 291 points, at the 4thkilometer mark they were still in 13th place with 269 points and by the finish the team finished in 10th place with 237 points. The Stars picked up places the entire way.
Sophomore Sydney Swan, running in her second state meet, was our top finisher. She worked her way up from 79th place at the mile to 73rd place at the 2 mile and finished in 40th place with a time of 19:30.
Sophomore Maddie Weiford, running in her first state meet, was our second finisher. She ran stride for stride with Sydney for four kilometers and finished in 54th place with a time of 19:40.
Junior Merideth O’Donnell, running in her second state meet, set the pace for her teammates early on in the race, went through the mile with Sydney and Maddie and stayed with them for two miles. She was the Stars third runner in 90th place in a time of 20:12.
Senior Delaney Hupke, running in her third state meet, was STA's fourth finisher. She ran strong and consistent, going through the mile in 102nd place in 6:16 and maintaining her place and finishing in 101st place with a time of 20:21.
Freshman Veronica Fast was our fifth finisher. She ran with Delaney the entire race, going through the mile in 110th place in 6:19 and finished in 107thplace with a time of 20:21.
Sophomore Sydney Waldron, running in her first state meet, was our sixth runner today. Sydney went through the mile in 118th place in 6:21 and ran a strong race, finishing in 131st place with a time of 20:49.
Sophomore Lilly Hupke, running in her second state meet, was our seventh runner today. Lilly had been dealing with a knee injury the last several weeks and had not been 100% since she raced this course at the end of September. Lilly ran with Sydney Waldron and Veronica the first two miles and finished in 139thplace with a time of 21:11.
STA raced the Gans Creek Classic on the same course on September 28, six weeks ago today. STA top six runners’ times twere faster than our top finisher’s time back in September. Sydney Swan ran 1:20 faster, Maddie Weiford ran 1:17 faster, Merideth O’Donnell ran 1:05 faster, Delaney Hupke ran 1:09 faster, Veronica Fast ran 1:46 faster and Sydney Waldron ran 56 seconds faster.
To earn all-state honors, a runner must finish in the top 25. Last year at Oak Hills, the 25th place time in the Class 4 girls race was 19:55. In the 2019 State Class 4 girls race, 19:55 would have been good for 70th place. Only two runners in the Class 4 girls race last year ran a time fast enough to have earned all-state honors in the 2019 race.
The athletes names and places have been recorded in the St. Teresa's Academy Team Championship history book. The Stars have ten of our top eleven runners returning next year.