Graham runners bring their best to state championship

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Al Macnaughton

Al Macnaughton, Guest Contributer

Competing last Saturday in the State Cross Country Championship at Green Hill Park in Salem Virginia was the Girls Cross Country Team and Senior Dan Pearce in the boy’s race. Proving that they know how to peak when it mattered most the team collectively ran their best race of the season for the 3rd week in a row with 4 runners posting personal best times and 2 just missing personal bests!

Girls:

Junior Katie Benson ran an incredible race gradually moving up the entire time. Starting as far back as 40th Benson kept a steady pace moving into 25th by the mile mark. At the 2 mile, Benson was in 21st place with an eye on the top 15 or All State Honors. With ¾ of a mile remaining Benson set her sights on a pack of runners 50 yards ahead that included the 15th place runner. Her determined final push resulted in the 3rd fastest time in school history, and personal best, of 20:51 for the 5K or 3.1 mile race only 5 seconds from All State Honors. Her 17th place finish is the highest ever by a Graham CC runner!

Despite feeling ill at the 2 mile mark, Senior Julia Day gutted out the last mile placing 67th with a 23:22. Day finished a successful CC career as the 5th best runner in school history! Coming in as the team’s third runner, Junior Kara Murphy continued her impressive progression. She accomplished this feat by placing 70th with a time of 23:36. Her time was an incredible 1 minute and 39 seconds better than her previous personal best, which she ran just last week! Senior Elise Clary gradually moved up the entire race finishing her CC career with a blazing kick resulting in a new personal best of 23:57 and the 13th best runner in school history! Freshmen Lauren Pearce ended a successful varsity season just missing a personal best time posting a 25:07 in 91st place. Recovering from a weeklong illness Junior Emma Seay was still able to post a very good time of 25:18 for 92nd.  Continuing to improve every week Freshmen Rachel White ended her first year of Cross Country on a high note. Placing 98th White crossed the finish line with an excellent new personal best time of 26:47!

Their individual success helped the G-Girls place 11th only 1 point out of 10th!

Boys:

Competing in his first State Championship Senior Dan Pearce was excited to see how he would match up against the best in the State. After the opening gun, Pearce settled into a large group that steadily pushed forward through the first mile. By the 2 mile mark the large group had fallen apart leaving only Pearce and Lebanon’s top runner. The two runners pushed each other the last mile helping Pearce place 70th while clocking in at 19:05, only 1 second off his personal best! Pearce finished his CC career ranked 14th on Graham’s All Time Best list!

Congratulations to the whole team on another great season!