By Jeremy McDonald
CORVALLIS, Ore.– For the Scots of McKay, Wednesday marked an end to another Cross Country season.
But, even though there weren’t anyone who walked away with league honors, there’s a lot of potential with the Zellick Runners entering next season following the Greater Valley Conference District Meet at Crystal Lake.
Sophomore Juan Heredia finished 29th, freshman Evan Doster and junior Erik Brambila finished 41st and 42nd respectively in the District race will lead the pack on the guys side next season.
On the girls side, Sophomore Hanna Caldwell will lead the girls following a successful sophomore campaign and a 25th place finish in the GVC district meet this year.
Doster explained the course Wednesday as super intense as the 63 runners competed through the mud and admits that they, himself included need to carry this momentum over to next year.
“Super, super intense,” started Doster. “I can keep practicing over the summer…I’m always going to be conditioning instead of slacking around doing nothing so I can carry that over (to next season).”
Senior Marquita Ritchey said before the race that she would find any way possible to leave it out on the course Wednesday knowing that it’s her last race of her career; even if that meant that they’ll have to pick her up from the course afterwards.
“I pushed myself to the point that, no joke, the mud puddles look really good to fall into,” Ritchey said with a smile. “But I think all of us pushed it. We had our coaches supporting us, we had teammates supporting us and especially we had our girls to support us.”
Fellow senior Victoria Orduno second that and mentioned how their whole team left it out on the trail, no matter the end result.
“I think we all did amazing, I feel like we all went out there and gave it our all. I mean we got the mud stains to prove it,” said Orduno pointing to hers and Ritchey’s muddy legs and clothes. “We went out there and we all literally all ran that we had asthma attacks.”
All this effort to leave one important message: To have confidence in yourself.
Ritchey points to her personal journey in being confident in herself.
“I would say confidence,” started Ritchey. “Especially as a girl who had insecurities for the longest time, confidence is a great thing to have. And if you don’t have confidence, you don’t believe in yourself; the whole time your racing, ‘I can’t do this, that girl’s in front of me, she’s faster than me. I can’t get her’.
“And I want these girls to say, ‘I see that girl, and I want to eat her for dinner.’ I want to be able to like ‘You can’t have that turkey, you can’t have that pizza, you can’t have that pasta because I’m going to get to it first.’ I want them to have confidence to be on measure because it’s the greatest thing to ever have.
Orduno adds to Ritchey’s message with something about bonding. How close the girls are to one another and that fight and that belief they have in one another.
It doesn’t matter if it’s in practice or in a race, that bond is unbreakable.
“I think we really left them with unbreakable bonds, like our team has such a great bond and we have such great friendships,” she said. “And we’re all such different characters and we all just come together to create this amazing little family and like we bond.
“I feel like, I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life. Even when I’m old and gray. That’s what I’m going to remember this team, I’m going to remember how much of a family we were. How much we all help each other and pick each other up and cheer each other on.”
As they gather around for the GVC Awards, you saw this friendship amongst one another. You saw former Scots there with them. You saw with the younger athletes that the foundation is there for next year.
Talent. Friendship. Confidence.
It’s there for them entering 2017.
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