The state cross country meet is on Saturday Nov. 4, in Round Rock, TX, and although the entirety of the cross country team didn’t qualify, two runners will be traveling to compete: junior Branden Lange and senior Rylee Cristan.
At the previous cross country meet, regionals on Oct. 23, Cristan ran three miles in 18:10, about one second away from qualifying for state as an individual athlete. The Timber Creek girls cross country team placed fifth overall, one place away being in the top four, and moving on to state as a team.
Originally, Cristan was not going to run in the state meet, but to her surprise, Coach Strong and Coach Reeves revealed her accomplishment of making state during fifth period on Nov. 2 in front of Strong’s track and field class.
“I was so shocked when they told me. I was not expecting it at all because it was so late in the week,” Cristan stated. “When they called me into the field house I thought that I was going to be in trouble or something, but then they announced it and I was so happy and excited. It’s always been my dream to go [to state] since freshman year.”
To advance to state from regionals, individuals have to be top 10 in their region. Cristan was an alternate for the state meet.
“We heard that one of the other girls [running in the state meet] unfortunately got injured and wasn’t able to run,” Cristan explained. “Since I was the next to go, I will be able to run.”
Nevertheless, Cristan will be joining Lange on the trip to the state meet. Throughout her high school career, Cristan has made it to three regional meets, including as an alternate her sophomore year, with her final goal in mind: to make state.
“After freshman year, I told myself that I wanted to make state before high school ended. We didn’t make state last year, but our team was one place away, so this year I knew I had to work harder than I ever had before to make it this year,” Cristan said. “State was my motivation all season, and after regionals I was one spot away from going, which was really disappointing, but I knew I had to trust in God’s plan. When I found out I had accomplished my goal, it was probably one of the happiest moments of my life.”