Ana Weaver runs her way to success


Photo submitted by Ana Weaver

Ana Weaver is running in the state tournament. After qualifying from the regional meet, she will head to Portland, Oregon to run in Nike Nationals on December 7.

Allison Benning, Podcast Reporter

Hunger. Dehydration. Fatigue. Aching pain. Soaked running shoes. Through all this adversity, she wills herself to cross the finish line. It doesn’t matter if it’s a practice or a meet, she always pushes herself to meet or exceed the time she sets for herself.

Junior Ana Weaver has always been a successful long distance runner who works hard and is dedicated, and loves the competitiveness and team aspect of cross-country.

“I run cross country because I love to run and I love competing and pushing myself past what I think I’m capable of,” Weaver explained. “I really love my teammates and the joy that people bring that I run with.”

The state tournament

After placing 8th in the state tournament last year, she was not the favorite to win it this year. After a very successful season this year, winning or placing second in five of six meets, the time had come for Weaver to participate in the state tournament at St. Olaf College in Northfield. 

She got to her spot at the starting line to embark on the biggest race of her season at that point. The gun fired, and so did she.

Focus on your race strategy. Stay positive. Focus on your form, and your race. 

5,000 meters later, Weaver was named the Class AA State Champion. While she was trying to focus on her own race, she was also pushing herself to the finish line with thoughts of her teammates who were also running the race.

“It was a great experience,” Weaver explained. “We wanted to go out there and have fun, but stay focused and try to achieve our goals and run for each other. We knew that we were all going to be in pain, and so [we had to] just to push through it and run for each other.”

After winning the state tournament on Nov 2, 2019, Weaver qualified to run at the regional tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, along with some of her teammates. Even though she would be facing some of the best runners of the Midwest, Weaver proved that she also is a tough opponent to go up against.

Freshman Avery Braunhausen explained that not only is she such a good runner, she is a really good competitor.

Weaver got fourth place in the event, and the team placed fifth overall. All of her preparation allowed her to improve her time every race, and that time she set a personal record of 17 minutes and 27.7 seconds.

Weaver added that to prepare for every meet, she tries to “focus on my race strategy, and visualize what the course is going to look like and the competitors that I will run against.”

Going to nationals

After the race, Weaver got some great news. She found out she will be running in the Nike Nationals in Portland, Oregon. All of her hard work and dedication had paid off at that moment, as she will be running in the most prestigious high school cross-country event in the nation.

I’m grateful for the experience that I’m going to have there and so happy to have done good on the race that mattered.

— Ana Weaver

“I’m grateful for the experience that I’m going to have there and so happy to have done good on the race that mattered,” Weaver said. “I wish my team was coming with me; it’s been kind of hard training alone, but I’m so excited, and I’m so grateful.”

Now, her main focus is on training for this huge race. However, as Weaver mentioned, her teammates will not be training with her.

“I run by myself,” Weaver explained. “Sometimes with music or something, but mostly I just enjoy the nature around me.”

Along with tons of success, Weaver has also gotten attention from colleges wanting her to consider running for their program. She plans to run at that next level and will learn more about what that would be like come next season.

“I’ve had a lot of colleges reach out to me and mention that they want to stay in touch,” Weaver said. “So I’m looking forward to next season, going to take official visits and learn more about what it’s like to run in college.”

Her dedication has allowed her to become a distinguished figure in the sport of cross country not only in Minnesota, but the Midwest as well. Even with all of the recognition she receives, Weaver still works hard and remains down to earth.

“She’s really nice and supportive of not only her teammates, but also the people who she’s competing against,” Braunhausen explained. “So she’s a really positive influence on the course.”

“I’ve ran with her for the last three years,” senior captain Elise Riniker added. “She’s a really supportive teammate. She’s always the one doing the most work, so it inspires you to work harder.”