Paige Condon admits she has grown a lot in her cross country career, and running her final high school meet for Manson Northwest Webster at the state meet will be another lasting memory.
“From sophomore year to now, I’ve changed my mental game the most,” Condon said. “I used to slow down when it started hurting or tell myself I was tired before the race was over. This year, I have really learned to completely block out those thoughts and run ‘hurt,’ as coach (Theo) Clark would say.
“Coach Clark has really put in our minds to enjoy the hurt and be confident in yourself; that’s exactly what I’m going to do at this year’s state cross country meet.”
Condon will be joined by junior Preslie Oswald and freshman Alyssa Richman. Manson Northwest Webster junior Lane Moline will run for the Cougar boys.
“Being able to run my last high school cross country meet at the state course is a huge honor itself but being able to do it with some of the best teammates is more than I could ask for,” Condon said. “We’ve all put in so much work…now it’s time to go show off that work.”
Southeast Valley sophomore Oscar Hanson, Bishop Garrigan senior Quinn Swift and North Union senior Nick Schiltz will compete in the boys race.
The 1A girls will run at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the boys will compete at 3:15 p.m. on the Lakeside golf course at Kennedy Park.
Condon has learned that “when something tough is thrown in front of you, it’s how you overcome that challenge to move forward.”
“Cross country has always been one of my favorite sports,” Condon said. “Being a part of Coach Clark’s team for the past five years, I have learned many lessons I will be able to use not only during my running career but also in my life after sports. The main one is ODAO. “Overcome Despite All Obstacles. Overcome obstacles in running. Weather’s bad? Oh well, we’re still gonna go have a great run. Overcome life obstacles. Get a bad grade on your test? Shake it off and try even harder on the next one.
“ODAO has been our team motto my whole career and I don’t think I will ever forget it.”
Oswald, like Condon, is making her third straight state trip.
“I am excited to take on the state course again,” Oswald said. “I feel much more confident this year. I know how the energy feels at state and it pushes me to do my best.
“It also feels good to have my two teammates by my side on the state course.”
In her first year walking the halls at Manson Northwest Webster, Richman has earned a state spot as well.
“To be competing at the state meet as a freshman is a huge accomplishment,” Richman said. “Qualifying individually this year was a goal of mine, and being able to execute that goal with Preslie and Paige makes it even better.
“It’s good to know that all of the hard work we put into our season is paying off. It is beneficial knowing that both Preslie and Paige have run this course because they know what to expect, and they are helping me prepare for different parts in the race.”
Moline was a state participant last year for the Cougars.
“I’m looking forward to taking the experiences from the state meet last year in this year’s competition,” Moline said. “While I didn’t meet my performance goal (in 2020), I feel like I have a solid base to work from, which I can build my race strategy off of and help me meet this year’s goal.”
Running with three classmates is something that Moline looks forward to.
“It’s a great feeling to know that not only will I be at the state meet to cheer Paige, Preslie and Alyssa on, but that we got together through hard work and dedication,” Moline said. “It’s been a fun season watching the girls progress and the icing on the cake is watching them conclude the season at state.”
Hanson punched his first state ticket for the Jaguars.
“It means everything to me to go to state,” Hanson said. “I’ve worked so hard for this and you really can’t prepare for something like it…you just have to do your best.”
Competing in Class 2A for the Messenger-area girls are East Sac County senior Emma Schroeder and Pocahontas Area junior Kaitlynn Schuler. Eagle Grove junior Drake Weland will run in the boys race.
The Class 2A girls race will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, with the boys to follow at 11:15 a.m. Saturday at Lakeside.