HEBRON – Arcanum’s Marcy Bradshaw and Bradford’s Karmen Knepp learned what it’s like to compete against the state’s best runners on Saturday, knowledge they hope will help them as they continue their running careers.
Bradshaw and Knepp both competed in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III girls state cross country meet on Saturday morning at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. Knepp finished 35th in the race with a time of 19:43.2 while Bradshaw finished 77th in 20:38.4.
“It was quite an experience,” Knepp said. “It was a lot tougher than I thought and where I thought everybody would be. The people I thought I could keep up with I couldn’t.”
Even though she couldn’t keep up with the very best runners in the 144-girl field, Knepp felt good about her performance in the state meet.
“I think I did pretty good for where I am, you know, grade-wise and everything and how I came into the race and my PR and everything,” the freshman said.
Bradshaw said it definitely wasn’t her greatest race. The top runners were just as tough as she expected them to be, she said, and the course was a little tougher than she thought it would be.
“I was definitely interesting,” the junior said. “The hills definitely appeared to be tougher than they looked.”
Both Bradshaw and Knepp said they enjoyed the experience and getting to run in front of the large crowd in Hebron.
“There was a ton of screaming, people trying to motivate their runners,” Knepp said. “I don’t think there was one spot where I didn’t hear somebody screaming. It was really cool.”
Having the experience of competing at state, both girls said Saturday’s race was a great learning experience as they hope to qualify for future state competitions in cross country and track and field.
“Hopefully be better prepared for that. Today’s race was definitely a learning experience for me,” Bradshaw said. “I definitely need to come here next year with a better mindset, be ready to compete competitively, be more confident in myself.”
Bradshaw and Knepp also both said they hope more local runners will follow in their footsteps and make it to the state meet.
“If people are worried about doing well at this kind of race, I wouldn’t be because just being here is really, really good,” Knepp said. “It’s real fun.”