A California cross country runner beat her lead time by the 30 seconds at state championships, bringing home a medal.
California High School cross country junior Kenzleigh Goans represented California on Saturday at the Class 3 State Championships in Columbia.
Goans qualified for state by finishing the top 30 at the Class 3 District 3 meet in Mokane on Oct. 28 with a fifth place finish with a time of 20 minutes and 23.69 seconds (20:23.69).
The State Championships took place at a course that Goans was quite familiar with. Gans Creek at Father Tolton High School in Columbia. The state 5K was Goans' sixth race at Gans Creek and the third time she'd run the course for the state championships. Goans' best finish at state was eighth place last fall.
From the starting gun, Goans was ran in the top half of the pack and was never lower than 30th place throughout the entire run. Goans ran the 5K with a new personal best time of 19:26.9 and finished 15th place out of 171 runners in Class 3.
By finishing the top 30, Goans was given an All-State honor and her third state medal. Goans was presented her state medal by head coach and father Kenny Goans.
Kenzleigh Goans said it was going to be tougher for her to win a medal this season because of both the size and strength of the field she was racing with. For Goans, the hardest part of the course was the three and four kilometer mark when her legs started to go numb. Goans said she had to push herself the hardest through those sections of the course to maintain her position.
"My goal going into the state meet was to run my race and place anywhere in the top 30. I knew the competition was going to be hard this year, so I knew I was going to have to push myself," Goans said. "The best feeling ever is not only crossing the finish line, but also knowing that I got All-State; medaling at state was the best feeling in the world."
Coach Kenny Goans described Kenzleigh's finish at state as another strong conclusion to another strong season. He also sent out a call for young runners in California to join his team next season.
"Coach Baker and I are always proud of all of our runners, regardless of their final destination. If there is an athlete that is self-motivated, hardworking and mentally tough, cross country is the sport to join," he said.