State Cross Country: Lakota West, Badin sophomores notch top-10 finishes

OBETZ – Lakota West sophomore Evelyn Prodoehl and Badin sophomore Abby Mathews wanted one thing Saturday at the state cross country meet. It wasn’t to run a PR at Fortress Obetz. Nobody was doing that in the high-velocity and gusting winds.

They just want to place higher than last year. And they did.

Prodoehl was eighth last year in the Division I meet. This time she was in the top seven at every split and finished fifth in 18 minutes,19.8 seconds to earn first-team all-state.

“I think I had a great race,” Prodoehl said. “My time is not a PR, but that’s acceptable because of the weather. And I’m really happy with where I placed.”

Top five was also her goal, and she entered the stadium on the final stretch needing to make a move.

“I was sixth and I was able to pass someone,” Prodoehl said. “I just feel super good about that.”

Prodoehl is already looking forward to next year. Her team placed seventh, and all but one of them are coming back.

“It was just a really fun experience,” she said. “We had a great time yesterday practicing and I’m just really proud of everyone.”

Mathews’ goal was improve on her 19th-place finish in last year’s Division II meet. Much to her surprise she finished 10th in 19:04.2

“That was amazing,” she said. “I did not think I’d get that high up. I thought I was 15 or 20 coming in.”

Mathews went out faster than usual and it concerned coach Ann Gruenbacher when she saw that Mathews hit the quarter-mile split in 1:30 and was 39th. Mathews wasn’t sure either if the start would hurt her at the end.

“I didn’t plan on going out that fast,” she said. “So it kind of did like scare me a little bit, but my goal was just not let anyone pass me and just keep passing people.”

A factor in Mathews’ endurance is that her two-sport season ended two weeks ago. She plays on the soccer team and the Rams were eliminated from the tournament. Last year she played in a regional final a few hours after running at state. She was seeded 48th coming into the meet.

“To finish 10th that is remarkable,” Gruenbacher said. “I really did not know what she could do today because this is the first time she’s run a cross country race with two weeks of not playing soccer. So she’s never been as rested and fresh on fresh legs as she was today.”

Also in Division I, Lakota East senior Jocelyn Willis placed 36th in 19:08.1, and Monroe’s Andrew Wilcox was 50th in 16:29.9.

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