Marysville High School sophomore Jacquelyn Witt gets in a workout earlier this week. Witt will compete in the girls Division I state cross-country meet at National Trails Raceway on Saturday.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
For the first time in recent memory, Marysville High School will be represented in the state cross-country meet.
Lady Monarch sophomore Jacquelyn Witt will take to the course at National Trail Raceway near Hebron for the Division I girls race at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The last time in recent memory that Marysville advanced runners to the state meet was the girls team in the mid-1990s that featured Monarch Hall of Famer Jackie Conrad and was coached by Norb Miscovich, who is also a member of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame.
Witt advanced to the state meet with the final regional qualifying time last weekend in Pickerington.
Her effort of 19:11 on a cold day and a muddy course was the fastest final qualifying time in the state for Division I girls, according to MHS coach Luke Sundermeier.
Witt held off four girls at the end to place 20th in the regional and earn the final state meet berth.
“I didn’t know how close any of them were to me,” said Witt, reflecting on the fact that only six-tenths of a second separated runners 20 through 24 at the finish line.
“I knew my time was close (to qualifying for the state),” she said. “Going into the regional, I wanted to stay confident in myself and I pushed through the whole race.
“It’s exciting to qualify for the state and it’s been my goal to do so,” she added. “However, I didn’t think it would come this soon. It was more of something I thought would happen when I was a junior or senior.”
While the weather for last Saturday’s regional would be considered miserable by some, Witt didn’t mind it at all.
“I really liked the weather,” she said. “It was way better than running on a 90-degree day.”
Witt said she is the type of runner who turns in a quick first mile during a 5K cross-country race.
“I think I also have a kick at the end to improve my place,” she said.
The Lady Monarch runner said she will be nervous when the starter’s gun fires to begin Saturday’s state race.
“However, I know some of the girls who are in the state and I want to stay near them during the race,” she said.
Witt also hopes to eclipse her personal record of 18:51.
“I’m also hoping I can kick it in during the third mile and start picking off some people,” she said.
The top 20 finishers in the race will earn All-Ohio accolades.
Whether Witt can accomplish that during her first trip to the state meet is up in the air.
“Really, it’s about the experience of Jacquelyn getting to the state as a sophomore,” said Sundermeier. “She is very humble and team-oriented.”
The Monarch coach, who also guides the Lady Monarch track and field squad in the spring, said cross-country isn’t Witt’s strongest sport.
“Jacquelyn is more of a miler and she enjoys the speed and consistency of track and field,” he said. “The 5K of cross-country is more of a challenge for her.
“However, she is a very hard worker and cross-country is all about hard work.
“Jacquelyn showed the mental toughness that was needed to earn the final state qualifying berth at the regional,” said Sundermeier. “She was able to find another gear for the final 80 yards in order to qualify for the state.”
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