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By Lydia Martin, Kennedy sophomore
CEDAR RAPIDS - The Kennedy girls’ cross country team began winning races at the start of the season and hasn’t stopped since.
The Cougars finished the regular season with a record of 6-0 and placed second in the Mississippi Valley Conference meet. They won their first district meet on Oct 18. and, on Saturday, will run in the state meet in Fort Dodge. The Cougars are ranked second in Class 4A.
“It’s kind of a surprise at how well we are doing, since last year we weren’t doing very well,” sophomore Lauren Meyer said.
The Cougars were ranked 12th the previous year, 15th the year before that.
Kennedy has four dominant runners who lead the pack every time – senior Katie Womple, juniors Alyssa Averhoff and Allison Culver and sophomore Lauren Meyer . These four runners have placed in the top 15 of every meet.
Behind these four top runners, however, is a strong team.
“Hopefully we will keep winning,” Meyer said.
All of the runners are proud of their accomplishments this season and agree they did not expect to do this well.
Coach Mark Jensen started practice the first week of August and the team has been working hard to achieve its goals. The Cougars have put lots of hard work into this season and believe this has made them successful. Their daily practice consists of a one- or two-mile warm up followed by about an average of six miles.
“We’ve been running a lot and training a lot harder,” Averhoff said.
Jensen has prepared the team well for their competition.
“We are working hard every day, we have a plan that we stick to,” Jensen said, “Everything we do everyday is trying to make us faster.”
Running a race is a mental game. You need to be focused in order to win. Practice prepares the team as a whole but an individual has to do their own mental preparation for their race.
“I make sure I eat lots of carbs and get good sleep,” Meyer said. “I have to be focused before the race and warm up well.”
“I usually try to relax myself, and think about what I have to do but I don’t over think it to the point that I stress myself out,” Womple said.
The Cougars have set a goal to finish in the top three at state.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” Womple said.
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