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The Westminster Bi-Line

The Westminster Bi-Line

Girls Cross Country in the Running for Another State Title

On the morning of Saturday, Nov. 10, while most students will be sleeping in, the girls cross country team will run over the grassy hills of Carrollton, hoping to continue their streak of dominance in the state meet. Led by senior captains Anna Silverstein and Emily Fuqua, as well as coach Amy Eubanks, the sisterhood hopes to add to their collection of 17 state championship titles in the last 20 years.

In their Oct. 2 meet against North Atlanta, Walker, and Holy Innocents, the girls cross country team decimated the competition, claiming the entirety of the top 10 places in the race and 16 of the top 20. Senior Sahara Fletcher continued her excellence on the course, finishing first and breaking the 19-minute mark with an impressive time of 18.53.69. Senior Sara McGahan and junior Kay Crawford finished in third and second places respectively, adding to a blowout victory and a perfect score for the Wildcats.

A team that has over 100 runners contains a plethora of talent. The top five runners thus far consist of seniors Sahara Fletcher and Sara McGahan, juniors Kay Crawford and Lexy Rouse, and freshman Charlotte Folinus, but there are many more vying for a top spot. Seniors Martha Stewart Fuqua, Janine DePree, Katie Van Der Eerden and Emily Fuqua, as well as juniors Rhett Alby and Elyse Ensor, all consistently place in the top 10.

The Wildcats are joined by new arrivals in the freshman class, most notably Charlotte Folinus. Backed by a strong junior high running career, she has placed in the top seven Westminster runners in all of her races and is one of the top athletes on the squad so far this season.

“I think we are always inspired when a freshman steps up to the plate and can run well with all the veteran runners,” said Eubanks.

The freshmen and all other runners continue to push themselves and their peers, and they are helped by the enormity of the team and the variety of participants.

“It always starts in the back of the pack and they push the girls in front of them all the way up to the front,” said Eubanks.

This camaraderie and friendly competition help the Wildcats to push themselves to be better by inspiring hard work and dedication.

Nobody pushes others more than the captains and the senior runners. Silverstein and Fuqua aid the rest of the seniors in playing a vital role in the team. Alongside the complete group of senior girls, the captains help plan all the dinners, parties, and events that come with having such a large team.

“We don’t have team moms,” said Eubanks. “They are our mothers.”

The captains also take on a big leadership role during practices and meets, helping to get everyone stretched out and mentally prepared for the race.

“Being a captain, I have learned to take on many responsibilities from planning pasta dinners to managing money to motivating over 100 girls every day in practice,” said Silverstein.

“[The captains] make my job really easy,” said Eubanks.

Coach Eubanks is an inspiration to her runners. They love her style of coaching that encourages responsibility and leadership.

“Coach Eubanks likes to give us the chance to stand up and lead the rest of the team,” said Rouse. “It doesn’t matter how fast or how old. You’ll see freshmen encouraging seniors to pick up the pace during practice.”

This coaching tactic certainly seems to be keeping the girls competitive and eager to prove themselves in races, but the girls value Eubanks for another reason, as well.

“Coach Eubanks is an amazing leader because she cares for every single girl on the team,” said Rouse. “That’s a difficult task considering the size of girls cross country, and yet there she is ready to put aside whatever she’s doing to listen to us.”

The Cats maintain a positive outlook for the state meet at Carrollton coming up on Nov. 10.
“They’re all running faster than they were last year, our top girls,” said Eubanks. “At this point in the season, they’re ahead of where they were last year.”
As the fastest runners are all setting better marks than they did last year on the state-winning team, another great finish is expected this season.
“It’s going to be an exciting day,” said Eubanks. “I’m not ready for it to be over.”

Check out the girls’ second-place state finish.

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