Three end year at states
The PIAA State Cross Country Championships were the end for Northampton High School seniors, Hayley Jackson and Chris Traugher, and the beginning for freshman, Jessica Hendricks, but all accomplished a level of success on Saturday at the Parkview Golf Course in Hershey, Pa.
Jackson reached her goals of finishing in the top 100 with a time around 20 minutes, by placing 94th in 20:31.
"I was really happy with that," Jackson said.
Weather conditions could not have been more ideal for the 11:00 a.m. Class AAA girls race.
"It was perfect," said Jackson. "I was in front for the beginning, and Jessica was ahead of me most of the race, but I kicked it in and beat her at the stretch."
After the Lehigh Valley Conference Championships on Oct. 15, competing at the state level was perhaps the farthest thing from Hendricks's mind, but a comeback of sorts at districts on Oct. 23 led the freshman straight to Hershey.
Hendricks placed 106th in 20:37 out of 218 runners.
Jackson said, "The start was very fast. The finish was very fast, just like the beginning."
Maintaining pace was vital to the competitors.
"You just kind of have to. It's mental. You have to stick with others, and I just really got into it," said Jackson.
A mental game can also be important for conquering poop-out hill, the last hurdle before the finish line.
"I attacked that by sprinting before it to try and get a head start," Jackson said.
In the end, Jackson passed Melissa Lukas, a fellow District XI competitor from Parkland.
"I'm really, really happy. I made it to states, and my time was 30 seconds better than last year," said Jackson.
In the Class AAA boys race, Traugher finished the course in 18:04.