By Jeremy McDonald
DALLAS, Ore.—The pieces finally fell into place for the Dallas Girls Cross Country team this season, breaking the school drought of sending a girls team to the 5A State Race thanks to a third-place finish at the Mid-Willamette Conference District race this past weekend.
Avery Shinkle, Molly Parsons, Csenge Gyenes, Ah Pymm McDaniel
Polly Olliff, Ivy McIntosh and Tenny Nash are the members of the school’s first team. McDaniel and McIntosh were the highest Dragon finishers as they finished 12th and 13th, Oliff was behind them at 18th as Dallas finished with 121 team points.
“It’s super exciting for me, but it’s more about the girls and them making it and having the experience,” said longtime Dragons head coach Monique Lankheet . “I’m proud of them and I’m super excited for them…it’s not the same thing for me as experiencing through them.
“A lot of reasons why I coach isn’t about going to State as much as it is preparing them for all of their challenges and getting them to understand how they can work hard, train hard and this is the outcome.”
Their hard work had them seventh in the coaches’ poll entering the district meet. Their focus was on competing well at districts and executing as they did after a long season just to set them up for the final race in November.
“At districts it was about them trusting their training because they’ve been training here for most of the summer, so they’re prepared,” Lankheet said. “They’re mentally tough and they’ve done some really tough workouts and that was pretty much the sell to just believe in themselves. Believe in their training and believe in their teammates and work hard for them.”
For a school known more for Football and Wrestling, this season was them leaving their marks entering this final weekend. Shinkle, Parsons and Gyenes are the team’s seniors as they enter their final race in the Dallas uniform. Looking to leave their marks one last time.
“It’s really cool that I’ll be leaving High School leaving this mark,” Shinkle starts. “Just the hard work aspect and how tired I was after every workout and the stratification of PR-ing. The team really draws me to it with just how close we are and how awesome everyone is and we’re literally a family.”
For Parsons, it hasn’t hit her yet that this is her final race.
“It’s kind of surreal. It really hasn’t really kicked in yet that this is it,” said Parsons. “It’s like ‘oh yeah this meet and I got next season’ but I won’t actually be back next season. This is the last one.”
The State Races will be at Lane Community College on Saturday in Eugene. The 5A race will be at 1:45pm.