The last time Luther’s Cross Country Team ran in the State Meet was 2009. Back then, the five-members of the team who represented their high school today on the big Cross Country stage were just young boys. On Saturday, the senior, three sophomores and one freshman ran with the state’s very best in their sport at the 3A level.
“This was awesome. I’m proud of you all and I love ya,” Coach Stan Higdon told the team after the race. The Lions came in an overall 12th for their visit to State in almost a decade. They were right in the middle of the pack among 21 teams. Marietta High School finished first and had four runners in the Top Ten.
With clipboard and stopwatch in hand, Coach Higdon, in his 14th year in Luther, cheered on his boys throughout the course. A small group of family and friends of the team also tracked and cheered them on in the culmination of a successful season.
The state course in Shawnee began with a slight incline, and included plenty of mud, puddles, turns, dirt, trails, some pavement and a grassy stretch to the finish line under bright sunshine and a large cheering crowd. One by one, each white Luther jersey team member blew through that finish line, each runner with a personal best.
It was the culmination of an outstanding season for Senior Jay Cross, and a goal met to make it to State.
After the team caught its breath and waited on final results, the five took pictures and pledged to return next year, stronger and maybe taller for some of them. And Senior Jay Cross is making plans to have a great final season of track this spring under Coach Higdon’s leadership.
Then they went off to eat, naturally, at the closest all-you-can-eat buffet.
It was a great day to be a Luther Lion.