By Shirely Shuman
The Lady Eagles won the Region 2 cross-country championship at Elkins last Thursday with an impressive team score of 39 compared to Liberty of Harrison’s second place score of 53. This was the second straight regional championship for the Braxton team. Three Braxton girls finished in the top 10, and six finished in the top 20.
Leading the way for the Lady Eagles, freshman Addison Lloyd crossed the finish line in third place with a time of 22:43.40. Braxton’s next finisher, Bethany Payne finished sixth, and Laura Cain placed seventh. Payne’s time was 24:95.18 and Cain’s was 24.14.80. Teagan Huff placed11th, Heidi Payne 12th, Lindsay Tetrick 16th and Nicole Bramble 22nd.
Braxton’s girls are excited about the challenge of running in the state meet. Lloyd, the Eagles’ first finisher in regionals, said that after she realized they had won, she was excited because they “had put so much hard work into [preparing for the regional meet].” Lloyd went on to say that she wasn’t sure at first that her team had won because they “had run neck and neck with West Liberty all the way.” She is naturally excited about running in the state meet. “This is my first year of running high school cross country so I’m not sure exactly what to expect at a state meet.” Lloyd does have a definite goal. “I want to at least finish in the top 10,” she said.
Bethany Payne had a different reaction to the regional victory. “I felt relieved,” she said, “because I’d been anxious about it all week.” Payne attributes the Lady Eagles’ win to “the hard work we’ve put in and the mindset of running as a team.” In preparing for the state meet in the few days she has, this runner plans “to work on [her] speed.” She explained, “My endurance is good. I just need to work on keeping up my speed.” About running in the meet itself, Payne feels “definitely blessed but also very nervous.” She, too, has a goal. “I want to have a faster time than I have seen yet,” she said.
Laura Cain, who led the team in most races this season, feels that this year’s championship came because of “hard work, dedication, and perseverance.” Cain wasn’t surprised at the win since the team had won last year. For the state meet this year, she hopes to get healthy again. She ran both the LKC and regionals with a hip injury and has been working to get that corrected. “This week I plan on stretching and hydrating a lot,” she said. “I plan on working on some interval training to increase speed and some speed workouts in general.” Excited and grateful about running at the state meet again, Cain expects the team “to give it everything they have at states this year to get us first overall as a team.” Her goal is to be in the top 10 and “to score the lowest point for the team in order to help us win states.”
Regarding her team’s accomplishment, Coach Jennifer Berry, who has now coached the team to two regional championships, said, “As always, I am so very proud of everyone! I am so thankful we had our whole girls’ team to run, too. They have all worked so hard this season.”
Assistant coach Robert Lloyd discussed some concerns going into the state meet. Looking at the fact that some AA runners have times as low as 19+ minutes, he explained, “Most of the courses we run have hills in them, so our times are not quite as low as some of the higher ranked girls. A few of the girls have been working on speed workouts which should make a difference at states.”
Discussing the times the girls had for the regional meet, Coach Lloyd noted that most “ran the race with a lower time” and added “Lindsay Tetrick knocked off the most time. Hers was around one minute 40 seconds from earlier in the year.”
About the state meet itself, Lloyd answered with confidence in the Lady Eagles. “Our girls’ team has been ranked number two basically all year with Winfield out in front,” he said. “Yes, Winfield has a great team but so do we. We just to need to show up and run as hard as we can and get in their heads. I think if that happens, we stand a great shot at the state title.”