Always on the Run

Freshman cross country athlete has major breakthrough in running career

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Always on the Run

Varsity Cross Country holds freshman Colleen Steggman after the State Send Off in the hallways at Reedy.

Varsity Cross Country holds freshman Colleen Steggman after the State Send Off in the hallways at Reedy.

Photo By Ryan Eldard

Varsity Cross Country holds freshman Colleen Steggman after the State Send Off in the hallways at Reedy.

Photo By Ryan Eldard

Photo By Ryan Eldard

Varsity Cross Country holds freshman Colleen Steggman after the State Send Off in the hallways at Reedy.

Emily Hines, Sr. Reporter

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Feet pound into the rough and natural terrain as cross country runners take in the open-air in gulps. Their lungs sting as they push through the last portion of the race. The finish line is only yards away, and determination drives the runners to finish ahead of the competitors scattered along the course.

After nine years of dedication, Cross Country runner and freshman Colleen Stegmann qualifies for the UIL State Championship, held on Saturday, Nov. 4. She finished the mileage in just over eighteen minutes, placing 9th overall.

“I was so excited to experience State,” Stegmann said. “It’s was really cool to get to do this as a freshman. Our region and district is really competitive, it’s a little intimidating, but all I can do is run my best. It is a very competitive and focused environment, but many people are also very happy and supportive of their teammates.

Cross Country Coach Becky Craig said that based on her early exposure to running and immediate love for the sport, Colleen puts forth an abundance of effort to ensure her success.. She can always be found accepting the next challenge without complaint to make herself and her team better.

“I started running when I was little, but I kind of just did it for fun,” Stegmann said. “In middle school, I started to do track and cross country and realized that I had a talent for it. Then I really just fell in love with it and kept up with it through high school.”

Now that her high school running career has taken off, the freshman qualifier concentrates on improving through daily practices and preliminary meets to maintain her persistent mindset.

“In a race, I’m always focused and trying to catch up with the next person, or if I’m out ahead, I’m trying to push the pace,” Stegmann said. “That’s one thing I’ve really worked on with Coach Craig this year.”

Although the runners compete against each other for placement in the race, the unity of the cross county team motivates Stegmann to do her best day-in and day-out.

Our Cross Country team is much like a family,” Craig said. “Our athletes are supportive of each other and are happy to see each other succeed. Our team loves spending time together, and loves sharing team dinners. We are building an environment that is positive, competitive, and striving for greatness. We do not want to be average, we want to be great!”

With the team and school motivating her, Colleen said that she felt encouraged, appreciated, and supported going into the UIL State Championship. This competitive environment is made up of the best runners in the state, and many 5A girls top ten times range from 16:55 to 18:15.“Our area is known for Cross Country, and it shows in the success at State,” Craig said. “Being a freshmen, it can be intimidating, but we have talked about her abilities and capabilities all year, and she used every bit of it to be successful at the State meet. I could not be more proud of Colleen and to be a part of her growth process and reaching her goals!

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