Lansing’s success across the fall sports season continued as the cross country team won its second Section IV title. The Bobcats defeated six other teams to punch their ticket to the state championships, joining boys soccer and football as Lansing’s Section IV team champions this season.
While it wasn’t the spectacular performance that the Bobcats had last year, in which three runners finished in the top five, all but one of the seven Lansing representatives finished among the top 20, leading to a team victory. Three of those runners finished in the overall top 10, including senior captain Catie Eisenhunt, who placed seventh out of 69 total runners with a time of 21:07.10.
“It was really great to have us spread really close together,” Eisenhunt said. “We knew that the pressure wasn’t on one person to take this win. It was equally on all of us. It was a good thing that we were all close together and we were able to get the win.”
While running is certainly an individual sport, this format of having a team winner brings out the chemistry in the Bobcats. Fellow senior captain Teresa Garcia, who placed 13th overall with a time of 22:24.90, described the camaraderie.
“We work really well together as a team and our coaches are really supportive and really work to make the training work for us,” Garcia said. “We’re good at being flexible and working well together.”
The weather was less than stellar for the races, with the runners having to battle mud and other conditions as they trekked through the course. This was not a problem for Lansing, though, according to Eisenhunt.
“It was better for our race than probably any of the others [that day]. But our team knew that with those conditions, that was actually in our favor,” Eisenhunt said. “We run with a lot of grit. So, if anything, it was a confidence booster to know that we could work through those tough conditions.”
Garcia echoed that sentiment, going as far as to say the team enjoys the bad weather.
“We’ve trained in the mud before. We’ve run in the mud before,” Garcia said. “Our team kind of sees it as, ‘Let’s see what we can do, let’s have some fun in it.’ And we use that to our advantage.”
Having fun led to great finishes for the Bobcats. In addition to Eisenhunt and Garcia’s placements, junior Emmaline Jackson was the team’s top runner, with a fourth-place finish after collecting a time of 20:23.60. Jackson crossed the line just under 30 seconds after the day’s top runner, Pipher Reid of Chenango Forks.
Perhaps the impressive sight on the results board was the sixth-place finish of freshman Kinsley Jacobs. After a fifth-place finish as an eighth-grader in last year’s Section IV finals, and her great performance this year, there’s a bright future ahead for Bobcats cross country.
“That means our team has a lot of promise,” Garcia said. “We have a lot of strong people coming up, both leaders on the team and strong runners, and I’m excited to see what they can do in the coming years.”
Of course, there is just one more race in the careers of senior captains Garcia and Eisenhunt. They reflected on both a great season and their years on the team.
“As a senior, it was a really nice thing to finish off,” Garcia said. “I’ve run cross country since freshman year, so this is my favorite season of the year. Going out there with my team and working hard and winning was very exciting.”
Eisenhunt touched on the hard work that Garcia mentioned, feeling relieved that all the time they put in this year has paid off.
Now it’s time to look ahead for the Bobcats. This weekend, they’ll participate in the state championships for the second year in a row.
“We’re really excited,” Eisenhunt said. “We’re looking forward to it a lot. We’re looking forward to a good week of training so that we’re prepared for the race.”
Garcia went back to the fun she mentioned earlier when discussing the state championships.
“Our main goal is to embrace the experience and have fun,” Garcia said. “We’ll go out there and see what we can do on the day.”
The state championships will be held in Plattsburgh this Saturday. The Class C race, in which the Bobcats will take part, will commence at noon. In last year’s state championships, Lansing placed sixth out of 11 teams present.
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