Mustangs finish 10th in state |

Mustangs finish 10th in state

Heather Westfahl
The West Grand girls cross country team, including from left, Joy Hast, Samantha Westfahl, Coach Trip, Allura Luna, Joana Ramirez and Lillie Steinle, finished 10th at state on Saturday in Colorado Springs.
Photos courtesy Heather Westfahl

The West Grand girls cross country team competed at the state championship Saturday and took 10th overall, marking the third year in a row the girls team has qualified and run at state as a team.

In August, when the Mustangs learned cross country would be allowed to compete in a short season, the thought of state seemed light years away. In a normal year, some of the challenges to reaching state include avoiding injury, staying eligible, mentally strong, and running faster than your competition. This year added the challenge of students remaining healthy. There was a nagging concern that cases among cross country teams would rise, and CHSAA would cancel the season. Making it to state as a team was a huge accomplishment.

Freshman Joana Ramirez has been a joy to have on the team. She finished the state race within 16 seconds of her career and season personal record. Considering the state course is 1,200 feet higher in elevation, and much more technical than the course where she set her PR, that is impressive.

Junior Lillie Steinle has battled injuries this year and proven that she won’t quit. Steinle completed the state race four minutes faster than last year and within a minute of her career and season PR.

Junior Allura Luna lead the team with a time of 22:26. Her first two years of cross country were plagued with injuries, but Luna has been keeping up with the front pack, and leading. While Luna was the Mustangs’ secret weapon this year, the secret is out.

Senior Joy Hast said the race at state was rough this year, finishing with a time of 24:32. While the race was rough, Hast still had a good time. She has accomplished much in her high school cross country career, getting stronger every year, and she has been a part of the lead pack every year and a key part of the team qualifying for state three years in a row.

Senior Samantha Westfahl finished state with a time of 22:43. She has also been a member of the lead pack in most races, assisting with state qualifying runs. Westfahl said that while her high school cross country running may be completed, she isn’t done.

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