Corral

Filed under Sports

Girls Cross Country Road to State

Varsity girl runners persevere through the season

Freshmen+Aryn+Rehr+and+Lily+Ruiz+running+at+the+Parkway+West+Invitational.+%E2%80%9CI+love+enjoying+the+nature+when+I+run%2C%E2%80%9D+Rehr+said.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Girls Cross Country Road to State

Freshmen Aryn Rehr and Lily Ruiz running at the Parkway West Invitational. “I love enjoying the nature when I run,” Rehr said.

Freshmen Aryn Rehr and Lily Ruiz running at the Parkway West Invitational. “I love enjoying the nature when I run,” Rehr said.

Athena Stamos

Freshmen Aryn Rehr and Lily Ruiz running at the Parkway West Invitational. “I love enjoying the nature when I run,” Rehr said.

Athena Stamos

Athena Stamos

Freshmen Aryn Rehr and Lily Ruiz running at the Parkway West Invitational. “I love enjoying the nature when I run,” Rehr said.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






This season has been one like no other for girls cross country. Showing their skills on and off the track, the team has made memories that they will never forget. Especially for senior and second year captain, Madeline Lee.
“It’s a lot different this season, every year the dynamic changed a little bit and this year it has changed for the better; it’s a lot of fun,” Lee said.
As the season came to a start, the coaches and returning runners didn’t know what to expect. There were many expectations and hopes from the coaches, Ryan Banta and Kathy Burnett, of the season coming up.
“I thought we would be much improved from last year and that our team would be in contention to be in the top few schools in most of the meets that we competed in,” Banta said.
Competing in over ten events, the girls have placed in the top five over half of the time. Including races like the Parkway Central Invitational, Forest Park XC Festival, Webster Groves Invitational, Class 4 District 3 Championship, and more to possibly come ahead. The team not only reached but surpassed their coaches goals. Especially for first time coach in 15 years, Cathy Burnett, who saw a different side of cross country.
“I didn’t really know what to expect from this group but the girls have been great. They have been fun to coach and work with. As a team, they always come ready to give it their all and have made tremendous gains throughout the season,” Burnett said.
Not only are new freshmen coming and showing their talent, but other students trying out the sport for the first time are standing out in the sport, including freshmen Lily Ruiz Del Arbol, Aryn Rehr and junior Sophia Day.
Day, previously a strong leader on the Parkway Central track team, gave cross country a shot, and has made a big impact.
“Sophia has really become a key contributor to our program and I was very surprised especially because it was only her first year doing it and she did such a good job,” Banta said.
Along with Day, the two of the many freshman standouts on the team, Rehr and Ruiz, showed how the PCH cross country team was the right place for them. Both made the varsity team, they ran mostly the 3.1 mile run or 5k.
“Lily and Aryn are two of the great group of freshman. They continue to improve with each meet and are going to be forces on next year’s team,” Burnett said.
Ruiz had a goal for herself this season, and in Arkansas at the Chili Pepper race, she reached it, getting her personal record of 22:21. Rehr earned a time of 22:01 at the same race.
“My goal for this year was to get faster, stronger, and more independent and positive about myself,” Ruiz said.
Rehr also acquired her goal for the season by setting her personal record for this race.
“I wanted to run a 22 minute 5k and I finally reached that for the first time,” Rehr said.
Not only did Rehr run her fastest 5k, but she also gained her mile personal record at the school’s Red and White night, where she ran a mile in 6:21.
This year may have had many standout freshman, but the upperclassmen also had a huge impact on the team. Especially Lee and junior Brooke Hilton being the first and second runners on the varsity team. Hilton earned a personal record of 20:56 this season on the 5k and Lee earned a current personal record of 12:18 on the two mile. Lee earned a medal in every race in Missouri that she competed in, except one. According to both of their coaches, they are not only great runners, but also standout leaders for everyone else on the team.
“They not only lead on the race course, but are also leaders at practice, encouraging their teammates to do their best. They also know how to have fun and keep it light which makes it fun for the whole team,” Burnett said.
Both girls said how they enjoy being a leader for the younger and all girls on the team and want to set a good example for them of hard work and it paying off.
“I’m focused on making sure that everyone’s where they are supposed to be, they are warmed up, and by leading by example,” Lee said.
Hilton and Lee have had at least one experience with state so far, Hilton going herself, and Lee as an alternate. State is the biggest time of the year for cross country and they are preparing for it all season long.
“Preparing for state is what every hard Monday is for. I’ve been to state once and it was a super cool experience where I ran my personal best time of 20:26,” Hilton said. “But at the same time, state has one of the hardest courses, so these workouts are needed.”
State is a huge process for Lee and she trains all year for it. The runners use a process called tapering, where they increase and decrease mileage and intensity every day. First the girls will head to districts, sectionals, and lastly state. And they can move forward either individually or as a team depending on placement. Many years in the past, Parkway Central has had the toughest district in sectionals. However, this year may be different.
“While I think it may be hard, we definitely have a really good shot this year,” Lee said.
This year Lee, Hilton, and junior Sara Espindola all qualified for state.
The Milkshake Mile, a tradition where half the team has to beat their personal record for the mile and if they do, Banta will buy them milkshakes. The event this year took place on Oct. 30, and almost the whole team hit personal records, with Hilton, Lee, and junior Sophie Louis getting a score in the 5:30 range.
Running for cross country is not only physical health and skill that is needed but also one of the biggest parts of running is the mental thoughts. According to many of the runners just based on mental focus, can determine how well you perform in the race.
“I wanted to improve my mental grip and toughness. I’m trying to go into races relaxed and knowing what I can do, and believing in my abilities and my fitness,” Lee said.
Lee is the one of the top runners on the cross country varsity team. Being an outstanding leader and showing her talent with the fastest runs.
“Maddie Lee is probably the most improved athlete I’ve ever coached and she continues to just improve a lot which is really exciting,” Banta said.
Not only working hard to be successful in high school and state, Lee is planning on continuing her running career in college. And while not officially committing until February, Truman State has offered her the opportunity to walk onto the team.
Many of the girls on the team this year have become very close and not only friends on the track but in school too. And the runners of all ages have been able to come together and make friendships. Rehr, Ruiz, Hilton, and Lee all said that, even if returning or first year, they loved the season this year and made so many unforgettable memories.
“I really love how close the team all got. I felt like I got to know each and each person on the team,” Rehr said.
Not only has this been a season that the runners will remember, but the coaches believe that this was a great season and the girls will continue to make an impact on the team in later years.
“I’m really proud of the girls as a group because pretty much all of them are better than they are last year and the new runners keep me excited looking towards the future,” Banta said.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Girls Cross Country Road to State

    Sports

    Fall 2019 Brings New Sport to School

  • Girls Cross Country Road to State

    Sports

    VETERANS AND NEWCOMERS

  • Girls Cross Country Road to State

    Sports

    New Head Coach: Same Expectaions

  • Girls Cross Country Road to State

    Girls Basketball

    Girls: Shooting For State

  • Featured Photos

    Swimmers will miss Meyer’s legacy, but excited for a season with Seidel

  • Girls Cross Country Road to State

    Photo of the Day

    Boys Basketball Takes on Lafayette

  • Girls Cross Country Road to State

    Sports

    NBA TIP-OFF; KING TO L.A., GOLDEN DYNASTY LOOMS

  • Girls Cross Country Road to State

    Features

    Soccer Star Comes Out, Scores Support

  • Sports

    Red and White Night Lights

  • Girls Cross Country Road to State

    Sports

    Volleyball Season Comes To An End

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Parkway Central High School
Girls Cross Country Road to State