Girls cross country dominates region, advances to state


Archer Streelman

Junior and individual region champion Jamie Marlowe finishes her first lap of the two-lap course, putting a gap between her and a runner from North Springs.

William Palmer

The girls cross country team repeated as Region 6AAAAA champion and will next compete in the state meet on Nov. 6. 

The meet, hosted by Chapel Hill at the Clinton Nature Preserve featured a forested and hilly 5k course. Six of the team’s top seven girls set personal best times, and the team placed all seven varsity runners in the top 11, to score 23 points in an average time of 19:46.

Junior Jamie Marlowe made an individual breakthrough in the race with a time of 18:31, winning the race by over 20 seconds.

“I’m very proud of the team today. We saw some really nice performances from the girls all around and I think we’re all really happy with the results. Individually I felt strong- we had good temperatures and atmosphere. This is definitely not my favorite course, but I’m happy with how I did and I got a personal record at it too.”

Freshman Sierra Pape, the fifth-place finisher ran under 20 minutes for the first time, finishing in 19:52.

“I think the team did really well [at region],” Pape said. “Our top three all [got a personal best], and that makes me really excited for state. Individually, I thought I was pretty good too. I didn’t think I was going to break 20 [minutes for the 5k], so that was a big surprise. Going in, I just knew that the first mile was really vital since it’s downhill. I don’t normally get out as fast as I did today, and it definitely paid off.”

Head coach Jeff Cramer said the team reached its goals in the meet.  

“I’m very pleased with the times for the girls,” Cramer said. “It was what we expected in terms of placement, but the times were better than what we expected. I can’t even complain about that.”

Cramer credited the strong performances from individual runners to the makeup of the team and the runners’ ability to aid one another, both in training and racing.

“Our theme for the entire year has been to build a sense of team and to run as a group and have everyone support everyone,” Cramer said. “It’s nice because that gives us interchangeable parts, and so I think we learned a few things this season and today about how we can mix that up and what we can do coming into state that’ll make us even stronger.”

The city meet, held three weeks before the region championships, was also dominated by the girls team, as they scored just 19 points. The individual champion of the city meet was sophomore Cary Schroeder, who said that meet was a good tune-up for the later races.

“I felt good about our racing in the city championships,” Schroeder said. “[Winning the race] definitely helps motivate me more to be better and better for the rest of the season’s races.” 

Other things that led to the girls’ success was consistent training and effective execution of a race strategy.

“I felt really good today- I was just focusing on my breathing and staying relaxed with my teammates out there,” junior and 6th place finisher Emilia Weinrobe said. “[Cramer] told me to stay with Sierra [Pape] and Cary [Schroeder] as long as I could, and I did just that. I’m very confident that we’re going to do very well at state, because we run region by a long shot, and because we’re all training and working very hard together.”

The team had raced nine times previously this season. Highlighting their previous performances were a 2nd place finish at the Wingfoot Invitational, a 9th place at the Coach Wood Invitational featuring an 18:45 time from Marlowe and a win in the APS City Championship Meet for the sixth consecutive year. 

With the state meet just two weeks after region on Nov. 6th, the final weeks of preparation are here for the girls with the ultimate goal of a top-four finish to earn them a podium spot in Carrollton.

“The season’s just started for me,” Cramer said. “It’s a two week season, and what’s important starts now- getting ready for state, and I think we have a very good possibility of getting in the top four.”