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30th year, 11th place, Girls Cross Country finishes season

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City starts the team off in the back

City starts the team off in the back

City starts the team off in the back

Sylvia Gidal, Reporter

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Although it wasn’t easy, the City High Women’s Cross-Country team was able to reach the moment where they were toeing the line at the State Meet in Fort Dodge for the 30th year in row.

This legacy of not only the state tradition but of the value of hard work and perseverance, is what the team has been especially showing throughout this past season.

Co-Head Coach Ryan Ahlers has been looking for and noticing this in his athletes this season.

“I’d say overall significant improvement is something I’ve been really seeing,” Ahlers said. “Girls making sure that they are holding themselves accountable for working hard and doing the things that you need to do in order to become a better distance runner. That is really enjoyable for me and for Lynn to watch as coaches.”

The girls started off in late August at the IMS invitational. Ever since then they have gradually been improving in both times and places. The JV team started at IMS with a win and continued that position for seven out of their eight meets. The JV girls kept a consistent rhythm for competition while improving on their own times.

“I would say the weekend going from the Super meet to Sterling I thought was kind of a turning point in our season,” said Ahlers. “The Divisional meet was also very good and solid. We had a lot of season’s bests and PRs.”

Like the JV, the Varsity group also started strong. They had a few bumps along the way but they believe that no matter what happens, their effort and support of each other is what matters in the end. Varsity runner Bridget Brown ‘18, thinks about this as she finishes her final high school cross country season.

“Last year I had a really epic season,” Brown said. “So I came into this season expecting more of myself than what I really got. But I do think effort-wise, I gave it all I had. I think I was a pretty important part of the team which I am very proud of. We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles and I think if we’re trying our best, no matter what happens, it’s gonna turn out okay.”

It was unsure what would be needed for the team to qualify for state this year and continue the 30 year legacy. The girls found it at the district meet on October 18th at City High’s home course, Ashton. Esti Brady ‘20 feels like they all clicked and got it in time for state.

“At our meet at districts, we really all came together and performed as well as we could have as a team,” Brady said. “I think that that gave us a huge confidence boost for state.”

On top of the usual hardships involved with cross country, this year broke a record for the number of girls on the team. With over 90 athletes, head coaches Lynn and Ryan Ahlers, with help from assistant coaches, Tom Mittman, Jessica Hodge, and Chris Welu-Reynolds, pushed the girls to give a complete effort and not to stop the drive.

“I’d say the biggest challenge is always just putting in the work throughout the whole season,” said coach Ahlers. “This is the biggest team ever in City High Girl’s history so that was pretty cool and that’s a fun challenge. The logistics of practices and making sure everyone’s putting in the work. I would say towards the end, at districts, that was a challenge to qualify for the 30th year in a row and we did.”

After a season full of effort and determination, the girls placed 11th at the state meet. Their grit, effort and belief in themselves is more important to their coaches than anything else.

“I hope that at the end of the season, after the state meet, that they feel proud,” Coach Ryan Ahlers said. “That they can sit there and say, whether it’s a few hours after the race or the next day or 30 years from now, “I gave it everything I had and I worked hard for my teammates and for myself and just enjoyed every step of the way.”

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30th year, 11th place, Girls Cross Country finishes season