Girls Varsity Cross Country
Game Summaries & Headlines.
- Game Date
- Sep 28, 2021
It was an innocent enough question: “How did they do tonight, Coach?” I felt myself gushing with pride.
“Oh my gosh. They were amazing!”
“Really? Where did they place?”
“I don’t know.”
“Huh, did they have fast times?”
I chuckled, “Ha, I don’t know that either, but boy did they light it up! I’m so proud of them.”
I’m sure I left the conversation with confusion just lingering in the air.
Only yesterday I expressed concern because so many of us were running in races with our eyes down. We talked about keeping our eyes up and being in the moment. We talked about not just running fast and running hard in a race, but being in a race and racing people. We talked about being our strongest in our toughest moments. Even though the girls were politely attentive as they always are in those moments, I never really know if it's making a difference. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe they flipped the switch just because they decided it was time to flip the switch. I’m good either way.
My high school coach and Coach B have an uncanny ability to pretty much know the score of the meet while it’s happening. I admire that. I’ve never been able to do it, and at this point I can’t wrap my head around it, but I’m sure that it is because of how I engage in a meet. I watch the meet very much the way I ask our girls to race...in the moment I am in. I’m looking at their eyes, their body language, their aura. I know...it’s hokey, but whatever. Well, just like I told the girls tonight, I have been watching them run in races all season but tonight I saw them really racing! When I looked at their faces there was clear determination. When I looked at their eyes there was focus and fire! They were gettin’ after it! I felt like something special was happening and that I was being blessed to see it unfold. Well, something was happening. We are starting to enter the back half of the season with more experience, with growth from the first half of the season, and with more confidence, and I love it!
After our race and cheering on the boys, I was walking back from about 400 meters from the finish. At that point, the results of our meet popped up on my phone. I was already just about breaking my arm patting myself on the back when God reminded me that I’m not in control and that pride comes before the fall. If I had my eyes on the race with wider vision I would have seen it, and subconsciously after seeing the results, I think I did, but chose to keep my vision narrow. I knew Forest Hills Eastern was going to win. We all knew that Forest Hills Eastern was going to win. We knew Ottawa Hills was going to be second in the same way. However, after that I thought, “Huh...maybe it’s us.”.
I saw that South Christian was third. “Dang it!”
Then I saw Cedar Springs was fourth. “Aw, man.”
Finally I saw Middleville Thornapple Kellogg...fifth. “Fifth?!...Fifth?...Huh.”
On the one hand I was disappointed, but then I reminded myself that we can’t control how the other teams run. I reminded myself that the girls did exactly what I had hoped they would do. On the line before the race I said, “Eyes up and race people.” They most certainly had their eyes up and were most certainly racing people.
Tonight we had Ava Crews, who has been setting fire to courses with her feet wherever she goes leading the way for us. We also had Jessica Durkee continuing to impress with experience, strength, and wisdom on race day. Today also featured a comeback from Emelia MacDonald who had sprained her ankle pretty badly a week prior. We also had our strong supporting cast of Holly Velting, Lydia Schilthroat, and Lindsey Velting continuing to move closer to the front. Next was something that has been a long time coming. Lucy VanDemark, in only her second race back, after battling a stress fracture busted her butt...not another injury this time, but rather a figure of speech...to get herself into our top seven. This is a place she occupied pretty much all of last season, if not the whole season, and she wanted back in. Tonight she arrived.
These were definitely not the only strong performances. As I mentioned, I saw a fight in our girls that I’ve been waiting to see, and it was in all of them. Times were fast, and admittedly the course was a bit suspect, but we all ran on the same course.
After tonight eyes start to get more focused on the “important” meets ahead, so this is a good time to really start getting our focus dialed in. Congratulations ladies. I would have liked to have gotten you to a third place position, but you displayed great heart. We still have more work to do, but we are heading in the right direction. It’s starting to come together. Regardless of our place or your times on the course tonight, I am proud of you. Very proud.