11/3/2018 – State 1A Championship Race – Peoria (Detweiller Park)
This trip to State Meet at Detweiler was the third trip I have made out of the 5 years I have been the head coach of the cross country team. The trip is a long four hour trip but it is really an easy drive. I had hoped that this year we would be able to finally take a team to the meet, but unfortunately the boys came up 10 points short. 99 days before this meet Maddie Karcher had posted on her Instagram account that she would be at state this year. Maddie worked her butt off and made her prophecy come true.
The state meet takes place at Detweiller Park in Peoria Illinois. It is a beautiful, mostly flat and fast course. The Lady Foxes best finish came in 2014 by Leslie Drone who finished 14th with a time of 18:10. At the State meet, the top twenty-five finishers are classified as All-State. Maddie Karcher was focused on trying to obtain this goal.
The day before the race, we drove up and ran the course and then stayed at the Holiday Inn & Suites in East Peoria. Maddie Karcher and Raegan Halley rode up to Peoria with me and Jackie Halley brought up three of the other Lady Foxes up to cheer on Maddie. The night before the race we ate at Noodles & Co. and stopped by Target to pick up some breakfast for the next morning. The weather forecast for the race was 40 degrees at race time. This is a great temperature for racing and much better than the weather has been in previous years.
The morning of the race, we woke up and left the hotel by 6:45 am and arrived at about 5 minutes after 7. As we arrived the sun was still down and we were conversing about the course and the excitement of the day. When we started to get out of the car, the sun was already coming up and beginning to brighten up the day. Maddie went through the normal pre-race strategy. She arrived to the start in Box number 10, which is a great box and is a straight shot down to the first turn. An unusual rendition of the National Anthem was sung and the race was about to commence.
As the race started the 209 athletes took off like a bolt and Maddie quickly made it into great position, in fact at the 400m mark Maddie was in 2nd place and the announcer announced her and where she was from. Maddie kept running hard and crossed the first mile mark in a swift 5:47. As Maddie came back around the course the second time she had settled into around 65th place. As she entered in the last half mile of the race, Maddie sped up and caught five people in the the final 800m. She ended up finishing in 60th place out of 209 racers and had an amazing outing for here first time at the State Meet.
Maddie had an amazing year and she will undoubtedly work hard over the next few years to get back and improve her abilities at the State Meet. Thirty seconds is all that separated Maddie from the All-State rankings.
After the meet, we all went to the Outback in Springfield to eat and celebrate a great season.
TRAINING FOR NEXT YEAR, STARTS TODAY!!