By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– McKay senior Sydney Haines has learned a thing or two about being a leader, being a top runner as she enters her final year running for the Scots Cross Country team.
Inspiration from Jazmine Liebl, who’s now running at NWAC-powerhouse Lane Community College and pacing the now-senior Haines and company entering this Fall.
“She was such a strong runner and me being able to run with her makes me feel better with myself and about my running. It kind of helped me push myself to be as good as her,” Haines said of Liebl.
During Tuesday’s practice Haines and Kaydence Nguyen were pacing each other during their 1,000-meter intervals, Haines points to Nguyen as someone she’ll lean towards to help pace her with McKay a few days removed from the Wilsonville Night Meet. The annual Cross-Country kickoff saw Haines finish tenth in the senior race.
Nguyen finished ninth in the junior race. Stephanie Urenda, Skylar Stangeland and Joselin Tapia Guerra are expected to fill out the Top 5 runners for the Scots this Fall. Coming off the program’s first-ever 6A State Team appearance and winning the Salem-Keizer City Title in the Spring where they edged South Salem by five points for the title.
“It was something I didn’t think was going to happen with my High School career, I was just running to run. Once our coaches said that we could do it, I think it pushed us more to go for that goal and try to be better than we thought we were,” Haines said.
For girls like Haines and Urenda, this is their final run. With how close the running rivalry has been with the Saxons and the 6A juggernaut that is Summit in front of them this Fall, it’s going to come down to them leaning on their experienced runners to make one last kick for Lane at the end of the season.
“We need Kaydence and the older runners, they know we can do it, but I think we need to teach that to the younger runners that they can do it because they need to believe more and maybe we can make it to State (again) this year,” Haines said.
McKay will be in Tillamook for the Ulitmook Race on September 4 before going to the Saxon Invite September 11 at Bush Park and their first Mountain Valley Conference meet September 15 at McKay.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald