Ana Weaver takes eighth in State for cross country

Grace Wirkkala, Online Editor

Fueled by her love for running, sophomore Ana Weaver placed eighth in the girls cross country State tournament. The tournament was held at St. Olaf College on Nov. 3.

Weaver is currently number one on the team’s All-Time Top 30 list. The list has runners’ times from 2015 to present day and Weaver clocked in for a 5K at 17 minutes, 52 seconds in 2018, making her the fastest on the team in three years.

There is debate among cross-country experts about the strategy of starting the run, whether it is more beneficial to start fast to clear the course or to move at a more steady pace. Some coaches encourage runners to stick together and run in a sort of pack. This method is useful if the team has a similar ability. Others utilize the strategy of running in 2-3 person groups. Both strategies work well depending on the abilities of each team member.

Weaver explained because of the way her team is set up ability-wise, their coach encourages them to run in smaller groups. She said that the smaller groups really help to bring the team together and allow the girls to motivate one another.

Both collectively and individually, the girls strive to achieve goals set by themselves and by their coach. Weaver commented on the camaraderie of the team, and how they motivate themselves to do better.

Our coach had a kind of overarching team goal for the people who weren’t running to really be out there and support.”

— Lily Shayegan

Weaver explained, “The team is always very supportive of everyone that’s running.”

The team worked hard to reach their goals at this year’s tournament. Junior and JV runner Lily Shayegan detailed what goals were set and how they were reached by each runner, even those who did not run in the tournament.

“Our coach had a kind of overarching team goal for the people who weren’t running to really be out there and support,” Shayegan said. “I think people really delivered on that. And I think each person has their own personal goal and just to have good sportsmanship.”

Weaver runs for the varsity girls cross country team, working hard to maintain her eighth-place status while balancing her academic workload and social endeavors. For some, adding a sport to their daily responsibilities can seem daunting. For Weaver, running equals a break from life’s stressors.

“When I run, then I just kind of feel free and it helps me relieve stress. Running just gets everything off my mind, and it’s just fun for me,” Weaver said.

This success could mean something bigger for the future of the girls cross country team. With hard work and dedication, the girls have the opportunity place even higher in the State tournament. Normal practices are often a few hours long, consisting of a run (the lengths vary), a core workout and shin splint drills. The varsity team, specifically, worked hard leading up to the tournament and plan to have the same gusto next season.

Shayegan explained, “I know [the varsity team] did some distance workouts, some speed workouts. I know they did four-hundreds on the track. They did eight-hundreds. I think they did 1Ks and I think they did hills and then I know they did some distance running so like fours, fives, and sixes.” 

Weaver is uncertain about her future with running but remains positive. She plans on using running as a stress reliever for the rest of her life but is unsure whether she will run competitively in college.

“Anything can happen,” she said.

Even the team website stays open-minded. In large font directly on the left column, it reads, “265 days until CC 2019 begins.”