Successful Season Stops at Sections

Alison Zander

Girls Cross Country Conquers Conference

“If it’s still in your mind, it is worth taking the risk,” Paulo Coehlo. This has been a perfect motto for 2020 referencing that any goal, even with the risk of the pandemic, will not be taken for granted. For the cross country team, one goal they weren’t sure they would be able to obtain was the ability to compete at the Central Minnesota Conference Meet. It is one of the biggest races of the season, this year placed at The Robert Nye Memorial Park in Maple Lake. With the go ahead from the Minnesota State High School League, the Irish got to compete against rivals Holdingford, Paynesville, Eden Valley Watkins Kimball, Royalton, and Osakis.

However, the sessions were split into two in order to have fewer numbers of participants running at once. “The atmosphere was different, but I knew I needed to go out, run my race, and achieve my dream,” said Senior Augusta Demarais on the change of the set up. Finishing first for the girls, Demarais is now Maple Lake’s first individual conference champion since Abby Thomas in 2005. The girls team placed first overall and the boys finished fourth.

 With an overall successful season, the cross country program feels the loss of the final meet at state. Earlier this year, the MSHSL decided it was safer with the COVID-19 pandemic to eliminate the race. Seniors Mary Miller and Augusta Demarais have gone to state for the past four consecutive years. “I’ve had the goal to go one last time- I never thought it would be taken away,” said Demarais.

While Miller said, “It was not a complete surprise, but nonetheless still heartbreaking. State is what I thought about while running every early morning this summer. It’s a reward of all the hard work we put in over the whole season. But even though this finish isn’t what I would have wanted, I am still glad to have had my final cross country season.” 

The Irish have competed well over the last two months; the risk they will take of competing will not stop them from finishing out their last race on October 8, at EVWK.