Indianapolis — The Zionsville girls cross country team has never qualified for the state finals.
If the first half of the season is any indication, that is going to change very soon. The Lady Eagles are continuing to climb up the polls thanks to repeated strong finishes and are ranked fourth in the state.
“The first part of the season, new territory for both of us,” said first year head coach Suzanne Rigg. “I have come in as a new coach with new training methods. It is just different. Thankfully the girls have gotten on board with some of the changes. It is hard to know what to expect when it is all new. ... We don’t have an absolute frontrunner; our strength is that we run close. We don’t necessarily run in a pack, but we run close. We try to get the girls to concentrate on keeping their teammates in view. Have an imaginary rope attached and don’t let up.”
After starting the season at the Carmel Distance Medley Classic and the Noblesville Hokum Karem, the Eagles really started to soar once they hit normal 5k courses.
The team placed third at the West Lafayette Harrison Invite, then third the next week at Ben Davis. The following week at Franklin Central’s Flashrock Invite, the Eagles placed second.
Every time they beat some of the other top teams in the state.
Two of the Zionsville seniors — Becca Uebele and Marianna Kastberg-Leonard said the key to the Eagles success has been viewing the races differently.
“We used to do a lot of time work,” Uebele said. “We would have individual PRs that we try to meet. We went to races to get PRs, not to win as a team. We never had goals like coming in second at Flashrock. Now we are racing for our team.”
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.