PICKERINGTON — Washington High School junior Maddy Garrison has taken the next step in her cross country career, qualifying to the State meet for the first time.
Garrison placed 12th out of 142 runners at the Division II Regional cross country race held at Pickerington North High School Saturday, Oct. 29.
Garrison ran a time of 19:47.38 on a beautiful early autumn afternoon at the Regional Saturday.
“Maddy has worked really hard to meet her goal of making it to the State cross country meet,” Washington head coach Ryan Day said. “She ran a lot of miles during the summer and took her in-season workouts very seriously.
“As she prepared for the Regional meet, her goal was to finish in the top 16,” Day said. “Even though the top 24 advanced to the State meet.
“Maddy was relaxed and confident before the race and followed our strategy during the race perfectly,” Day said. “It was such a rewarding and fun experience for her to accomplish her goal.”
“I thought I started out pretty well,” Garrison said. “I always like taking the lead at the beginning, just because that’s how I’ve always ran ever since my seventh grade year. That gives me an idea of who my competition is.
“It kind of helps to calm me down,” Garrison said. “My nerves usually are the reason I get out that fast. I think my start was pretty okay.
“There was a time in the race where I was like 17th or 18th,” Garrison said. “There was a big pack of girls that wanted to surge with each other. I just kind of waited because I knew that pack would split up. I knew there were a few hills coming. So I just held back a little bit. Then, I got my chance on this straightaway. I moved up to about 15th. That was after mile two. I was going toward the finish.
“On the chute, where the finish is, I passed two girls,” Garrison said. “I had a pretty good kick Saturday.
“I’m pretty excited about going to State,” Garrison said. “I’ve never been to State in cross country. It’s a new feeling. I’m not going to stress out about it. I’m just going to go out and run my race.”
Garrison and coaches Ryan Day and Louis Reid are going to check out the course Friday and stay overnight prior to the race on Saturday. The Division II girls race has a start time of 2:15 p.m.
“That way, I can just show up on race day ready and prepared,” Garrison said. “Sammie Stroker, I worked with her a lot over the summer. She ran State (for Miami Trace at Scioto Downs).
“I want to thank coach (Louis) Reid and coach (Ryan) Day,” Garrison said. “I’m so very thankful I have them as my coaches. I wouldn’t want anyone else to be my coaches.”
“I think a realistic goal would be for Maddy to finish in the top 33 to 40 percent,” Day said. “I haven’t looked at all the results from the other Regionals. And, the courses are so different. The Pickerington course was moderately tough. There’s a backstretch where there are, not huge hills, but a lot of ups and downs.
“We ran our District at Rio Grande,” Day said. “That District, I think, prepares us really well for the Regional.” Garrison ran a time of 19:39.00 at the District, placing fourth out of 132 runners.
“We’re going to go up Friday and walk/jog the course,” Day said. “We’ll see it, get an idea of what it’s like and probably plan our strategy a little bit more.”
Michell Hostettler, a senior from West Holmes, won the Division II girls Regional title at Pickerington North with a time of 18:42.70.
Chillicothe freshman Laikin Tarlton was 20th in a time of 20:29.06.
Granville won the Regional with 82 team placement points.
The top six teams at the Regional advance to State.
Fairfield Union was second with 123 points, followed by Minerva with 124 points, Liberty Union with 170 points, Carrollton with 178 points and Bexley with 178 points.
Unioto was 13th with 317 points, Chillicothe was 15th with 344 points.
Leesburg Fairfield won the Division III boys Regional cross country title at Pickerington with 71 placement points.
All the results are available on baumspage.com.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1