The Hawks’ cross country season comes to a close, and they crushed it at USATF Junior Olympic Nationals in Texas! The athletes peaked right on schedule, many of them running their best races of the season and others gaining the critical experience of running in high-stakes meets against elite competition. The weather was MUCH better than the past few XC Nationals, and there was a great time had by all who traveled.
Hadley showed up early Saturday morning to be ready to run in the first race of the day. Competing against the best runners from all over the country, Hadley pushed herself to a great time and a 90th place finish out of 189 finishers, one of three Hawks to finish in the top 100!
Next, we had four Hawks toe the line for the 9-10 girls 3k race. A light sprinkle and some scattered clouds kept the temperature down and spurred our girls to brave, strong races. Josie ran out of her mind, finishing the season as the top Hawk on her team and placing 128th out of 283 runners in the race. She took 1:20 off her regional qualifying time and beat her nemesis (friend) from the Solano Thunderhawks for the first time all season! Sonia finished as the second Hawk in the race, lowering her race pace by 30 seconds from her regional race pace and earning 181st place. Harper, fighting through an upset stomach and a fall at the start, was still able to take 33 seconds off her regionals time to finish just behind Sonia in 196th place. Finally, Maddi rocked her race by running 8-minute pace overall, PRing by 44 seconds, and placing 251st with her perennial smile on her face! Overall, every 9-10 girl crushed the day and represented the Hawks with grit and aplomb.
Next up, David stepped up to represent the Hawks in the 9-10 boys race in his first nationals experience. He went out strong and pushed all the way through the race to finish in 202nd place out of 308 young runners. David ran 36 seconds faster than his regionals time, finishing the season with one of his best races!
Simply put: Elias had another race of his life. Going in, Elias had one of the fastest times in the country and was focused on one thing – beating the runner who ran him down in both races at track nationals last summer. He was sure, if he could beat his friend Quenton from the Barron Park Striders, he could finally secure a national championship. Despite successfully battling Quenton all race to finish ahead of him, and running a 3k time of 9:39 (just 4 seconds slower than his national record-breaking time of 9:35 on a track in July), Elias’ hopes for a title were dashed by another runner. Elias fought all the way to the finish to place 2nd in the 11-12 boys race – an incredible end to an incredible season and year for the Hawk. Of course his Coach/Dad couldn’t be more proud of him, knowing he gave everything he had in his final 11-12 age group race.
Following Elias was one of our newest Hawks, Annie, making her nationals’ debut. The weather was getting warmer by the time she hit the course, but Annie pushed her way to a great finish. Out of the 333 girls in her race, Annie finished 231st, and learned what it was like to really compete at the national level. Her work all season culminated in a great effort!
Finally, the Hawks’ 13-14 boys team lined up to compete in the largest field of the day with 416 runners on the starting line. The humidity didn’t seem to bother the boys as they were all business getting ready for their race. When the gun went off, the team did their best to get out fast but were quickly absorbed into the mass of runners. They all fought their way through the course, improving their positions over the race. Matthew came across the line first for the Hawks, placing 66th overall, passing 64 competitors, with fire in his eyes he ran his fastest pace for 4k all season. Oliver had another amazing race as he has improved all season. Finishing 132nd overall and second for the Hawks, reliable Oliver put all his heart into the race the way he always does. Ryko, returning from his victorious freshman season to run a solid third for the team, finished 210th overall. Charlie passed a number of competitors through the race to finish 301st out of the 416 runners in the race, while Lou rounded out the team with a great effort on his part. The team scored 611 points and beat 15 other teams to finish 23rd in the entire country. These boys handled their business and led our Hawks to the best finish in the club’s history – they crushed it as a team!
Overall, it was another successful end to another successful season for the Hawks family. Success begets success, we are building a program of excellence on the backs of these athletes and we could not be prouder of every Hawk on the team this season. Our success stems from the effort of EVERY runner on the team – we don’t complain, we trust the system, we work hard, and we have a positive mental attitude. With our three Ts, our team is getting better all the time and that is all we can ever ask. We are looking forward to the end of season party on Thursday, continuing our success in track season next spring, and growing a continual string of confident and competitive runners through our team. Geaux Hawks!
Delta Hawks Coaches