Sophomore Madeline Carlson set a new personal standard, winning a varsity race for the first time in her career during the GAC North meet last Thursday.
“It’s like my dream come true,” said Carlson. “I’ve never gotten first place, but I’ve always wanted to.”
She cruised in at 20:51, 36 seconds faster than any other competitor and good enough for the title of conference champion.
“She had a great race, and you could really tell she wanted it,” said Coach Mike Spoede. “It kind of shows that with cross country, if you pay your dues, you’re going to see results.”
Carlson’s time mirrored that of former accomplished runner Emily Mauch, which is very promising for the program.
In fact, it was the first time in the school’s history that all six competitors, boys and girls combined, achieved the feat of all-conference.
“We take it as a great day for us,” said Spoede. “Everybody ran well.”
Senior Melora Broker also had a breakthrough race, but on a different level.
“I feel like I’m back in a way,” said Broker.
After running healthily for two seasons, she now often finds herself battling respiratory setbacks during competition. It’s been a factor in most of her races this season, but it didn’t prevent her accomplishing a coveted goal last Thursday.
“I feel really proud of myself,” said Broker. “Going through all of this really makes me appreciate getting medals, because my first two years I made it to state without any worries. But this year I’ve had to focus more and overcome.”
Broker ran a 23:08, finishing sixth on the hilly course.
“Her time wasn’t what we wanted, but mentally it meant a lot for her senior year to get a conference medal,” said Spoede. “She’s excited. She’s a worker and it was really cool to see her accomplish that.”
Junior Sam Swoboda, who is in her first season of varsity, raced to a second-place finish.
“It’s been surprising, because I came out the first day of practice thinking I’d be way behind,” said Swoboda.
Her time of 21:27 was 41 seconds faster than the third-place finisher.
“Sam is a really tough kid,” said Spoede. “To come in second place in conference on her first try was amazing.”
All three members of the boys team also earned All-Conference recognition, finishing consecutively.
Like Broker, senior Cloud Wharton has also been burdened by health issues but his have been the result of nagging injuries. He too was able to overcome those setbacks in leading the Warriors with a team-best 18:53, finishing fifth among 20 competitors.
“It was a pure mind over matter that he really wanted it, and he did well,” said Spoede.
This was Wharton’s third time being named all-conference.
“My time was slower than I wanted it to be, but I’m gradually getting better,” said Spoede. “It was nice to get to finish on a good note.”
Sophomore Zach Davis came in sixth with a 19:06, while junior Jacob Ruby clocked a 19:11 to place seventh.
“Zach and Jacob both ran really focused, hard races,” said Spoede. “They listened to the coaches and did what they had to medal.”
The Warriors will travel to the Clayton Invitational on Friday.
“We’re going to be setting up our varsity teams at Clayton,” said Spoede, as the Warriors prepare to host districts on Oct. 27.