Sophia Dahl feels powerful each time she finishes tackling a 3.1-mile cross-country course.
The Redmond High freshman smiles after softly making that statement, and three of her Mustang teammates nod their heads in agreement prior to a training session on Monday afternoon at 60 Acres Park in Redmond.
It’s a feeling of accomplishment when each five-kilometer race is in the books, Dahl said. “You know that you’ve done it before. Each course, even though it’s hard at some point, you know that you can do it again,” she added about her inaugural season on the 4A KingCo running scene.
Along with juniors Chloe Connolly and Lili Hargreaves, senior Lauren Lehr and the rest of the Mustangs, Redmond’s girls led the 4A KingCo pack with a 7-0 record this season heading into the league championship meet at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Lake Sammamish State Park. The state meet will take place Nov. 9 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.
Hargreaves stands second in 4A KingCo with an 18:31.4, Dahl is fourth with an 18:32.4, Connolly is sixth with a 19:01.2 and Lehr is ninth with a 19:15.6, according to the athletic.net site. Dahl’s time is the best in the state amongst freshmen.
Dahl said the older girls inspire her to do well with their support and advice on how to navigate the courses. Connolly chips in and notes that Dahl inspires them as well.
Connolly, whose personal record is 18:35.1, said that she looks forward to practices and seeing her friends and coaches, Carson Potter and Pete Whitmore.
“I think that plays a big role for the whole team and just getting excited to run. Which is hard because running is not fun all the time, obviously, ‘cause it’s running, but I think it’s good that we have such a good atmosphere to have fun in as well,” she said.
Having a positive mental attitude is paramount to running success, Connolly said. If she’s having a bad day or if her legs hurt during a race, she forges through it all and crosses the finish line with a feeling of gratification.
Hargreaves, who stands fifth in the 4A state rankings, said she enjoys the tight-knit team atmosphere and the support from her dedicated coaches.
“They’re super inspirational, they always encourage us. Even if we have a bad race, they’re always there for us. For the next race, they know that we can do better,” said Hargreaves, adding that it’s special to reap success with the entire team.
As Lehr winds down her Redmond cross-country career in November, she feels bittersweet and reflects on her four years with the Mustangs. She’s made great friends and memories that she’ll always cherish.
“As a freshman, I was a bit timid. Now I’m much more strong in my footing. I think cross country helps a lot with that because I find that as I get stronger in my running, I also get stronger confidence-wise,” she said.