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No eXCuses: Mason cross country at states

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No eXCuses: Mason cross country at states

Allyson Kryk

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After 3 months of sweating through early morning runs, hill workouts, and mile repeats, all the hard work came down to one race: the cross country state competition at the Great Meadows Race Course in The Plains, VA.

“This race was the biggest of the season and the level of excitement was much higher,” junior Bill Comstock said.

The girls 2A state race was first, and the George Mason girls varsity team placed third out of twelve teams with a total of 94 points.  Junior Logan Funk, who has been running cross country since 8th grade, led the girls team with a time of 20:21, earning 6th place individually.  Funk was the only GM cross country runner to place in the top 15 on both the girls and boys side.

“I kind of surprised myself going into it because I knew because of my injury I haven’t had the chance to race at my full potential,” Funk said.

Earlier in the season, Funk was out for a little over a month due to a stress fracture in her foot, but she had been training hard to make up for lost time.  Her efforts paid off since she improved  16 spots from last year’s state meet.  Although her 20:21 time was not her personal record (PR), it was the 20th fastest course time in Mason girls cross country history.

“I corrected my mistake from last year at states where I went slow at the start,” Funk said. “This time, I went out faster at the start to give me a good position and set a good, fast pace”.

Junior Linnea Skotte took second place for Mason and 19th overall individually with a time of 21:23.  She improved 14 spots from last year and accomplished her personal goal of getting in even better physical and mental shape than she was last year to improve her time.  She has been running cross country for Mason since she was in 9th grade and this was her second time competing at states.

“I feel this season was one of my best mentally because I tried really hard to focus on what was important,” Skotte said. “ I learned how to let all and [especially] any negative thoughts leave at the starting line”.

Freshman Jo Sevier came in third for Mason with a time of 21:28 and earning 21st place overall.

“I felt that I had worked hard for my position and I am also so proud of what the team accomplished together,” Sevier said.

This was her first time running at states, but with the comfort of her teammates and family around her, her pre-race nerves turned into adrenaline.

“Everyone is so supportive and they are always there to help push their teammates to their [full] potential,” Sevier said.

The Mason boys varsity team placed ninth out of twelve teams with 173 points.  Junior Bill Comstock and senior Ryan Henderson battled it out for 19th and 20th place, with Comstock seizing the 19th spot with a time of 17:25 and Henderson in 20th with a time of 17:26.

This is only Comstock’s second cross country season and his first time running at states, so his first place finish for Mason is even more of an impressive accomplishment for him.  17:25 was Comstock’s PR and he had the 15th fastest course time in Mason boys cross country history.

“It felt great to finish first for Mason, I have been working towards it all season,” Comstock said.

Henderson was the only Mason cross country boy to qualify for states last year, and this year he improved 34 spots from last year at states. Henderson’s 17:26 finish time his PR was the 16th fastest course time in Mason boys cross country history.  

“I put aside my emotions because I knew it would affect my race and I just focused on running my hardest,” Henderson said in response to how the prepared for states this year.

This is Henderson’s second cross country season and second State Tournament appearance and as a senior, his final time running for the Mason team.

“I felt sad because it was my last meet, but it was also a great experience,” Henderson said. “I loved spending time with all my teammates this year and this meet was like a final hurrah for me”.

On both teams, it was evident that the Mason runners have significantly improved from last year, with the boys team being able to go to states this year.

“Each guy in the top 7 really stepped up and contributed to our team’s success,” Henderson said. “They came to practice eager to improve and that really showed in the races, they were setting new PR’s for themselves race after race”.

Although this season is over, the cross country team will continue to run hard and prepare for next season. Both teams have had impressive seasons and hope to continue their success in the future.

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