By Deshawn Mcleod
On November 4th, the SLA cross country team headed down to Hershey, PA for the State Championship. Junior Matthew Ferry, captain of the boys cross country team, qualified for the competition. Running a 18:14 at Belmont Plateau for the District XII Championships, he placed 11th.
Along with Ferry, other runners on the SLA cross country team joined to cheer their teammate on. Ferry had a test run on the course, but that wasn’t the first time he had stepped foot on the Hershey course. This was his second year qualifying for States.
Ferry commented that, “Belmont Plateau is a lot smoother that Hershey’s course. It was a lot difficult because there was a lot of people and I kept getting boxed in.”
Ferry also noted that, “I enjoyed the hotel stay, but I didn’t enjoy my race. I’m going to use it as a learning experience for the future.”
Sophomore Katherine Hunt was two spots away from qualifying for States. She also went to Hershey to support Ferry. “Well [the course] seemed difficult to an extent. I thought the course was beautiful and I wished I would have practiced on those hills instead.” She said if she would have qualified for States her preparation would be drinking at least 44 oz. of water everyday, get rest, and do speed workouts.
Junior Sasha Sapp, another member of team, said, “[Hershey] was beautiful, the scenery was tranquil and the trail was awesome.”
She also enjoyed the races. “I remember feeling the entire ground shake beneath my feet when we all lined up along the outskirts of the trail. That was deep. Especially towards the ends of the races, both divisions, girls and guys, watching the runner literally get themselves to that final hell hill. It made me what people are capable of. That last hill…. and then that last sprint out? That’s true will and sheer determination at that point.”
This year at States, Ferry ran a 18:58, which placed him in 219th. This is a significant improvement from last year running a 20 flat and placing 256th.