PICKERINGTON — On what was easily the coldest day of the autumn of 2017 thus far, runners assembled from far and wide for the Regional cross country meet at Pickerington North High School Saturday, Oct. 28.
There were six races held to help set the field for this Saturday’s State meet at National Trail Raceway.
Snow flurries filled the air for the Division III girls race.
The snow subsided but the cold weather was well-established and it would not warm up on this day.
At 11:45 a.m., it was time for the Division II girls race.
Washington senior Maddy Garrison was looking for a return trip to the State meet and she accomplished that by placing 17th in a time of 19:43.13. There were 153 competitors in the Division II field.
Last year at the Regional, Garrison was 12th in 19:47.38.
Mackenzie Scott, a senior from Minerva, won the D-II Regional race in a time of 18:43.62.
Fairfield Union followed their District championship by winning the Regional title with 83 placements points, including runners placing fourth, sixth and 11th.
“Maddy did what she had to do in these tough conditions,” Washington head coach Ryan Day said. “I know she didn’t feel that great; her shoe was untied the whole race. A lot of things were going on in her mind but she stuck it out and got out.
“Sometimes it’s harder to get out (to State) the second time than it is the first time,” Day said. “I’m very proud of her. She ran a great race.”
“We didn’t get caught up in the snow,” Garrison said. “It really wasn’t raining or sprinkling that bad when we were running.
“I went out the way I usually do,” Garrison said. “I ran my race like I do. When you come to these meets, you really can’t change anything you’re doing before or during the race. You just have to stay focused about yourself and be mentally prepared, that’s the biggest part.
“I just went out the same,” Garrison said. “I was comfortable.”
What about the layout of the course?
“There’s like a little hill back there,” Garrison said. “I’m fine with hills. I think I run best with hills on the course. We are kind of packed at the beginning. There were really no spectators back there. It just got really tight there.
“It was muddy back there after the first race,” Garrison said. “They switch every year. Last year, the boys ran first; this year, the girls went first. I’m very lucky I got to run in the second race of the day.”
To be among the elite runners at State for the second year in a row, what type of training does that entail?
“I probably started out running 35 miles per week,” Garrison said. “As the season goes along, (the mileage) gets lower and lower, just to start resting my legs more for these bigger meets.
“(This week) I will probably get 10 miles in,” Garrison said. “Not much, just to make sure my legs are fresh for State.”
The Division II girls race at State is slated for 11:45 a.m. Saturday.
Editor’s note: Washington High School junior Kameron Morris placed 46th at the Regional cross country meet in a time of 17:24.73, missing qualification for State. There will be a report on his race in Wednesday’s Record-Herald.