It is always a rewarding moment when you see your hardwork and commitment help you achieve your goals. With 2020 being a year of unknowns for students and athletes across the state and beyond, many have been thankful fall sports seasons were given the go-ahead to proceed this year. Wayne CSD Freshman Hagan Arnold and Junior R.C. Hicks might be the first to express their gratitude to the Iowa High School Girls and Boys Athletic Associations for allowing the 2020 cross country season to be held.
The District Cross Country Meet was held in Mount Ayr on October 22 where Arnold and Hicks finished in the top 10 to earn their upcoming trip to the State Cross Country Meet on Saturday, Oct. 31. Both athletes as well as their teammates from Wayne cross country teams spent the summer preparing, recording many miles by foot.
“It was hard with COVID stuff, but some days I ran at my house and other days I ran with Mr. Cooper [Aaron Cooper, Wayne Cross Country Coach],” said Hicks. “I also sacrificed face-to-face learning at school when I moved to online classes in an effort to remain healthy and not be placed in quarantine due to contact tracing.”
“I did a lot of running over the summer, I mean a lot,” Arnold stated. “I know I ran more than 200 miles this summer and I’m not sure how many more I have added since the season began.”
Being a freshman, this is Arnold’s first high school sporting event and after some double-checking she learned she finished 10th to earn her trip to state with a time of 23:55.
This will be the second trip to state for Hicks following his qualifying run during the 2019 cross country season. He finished in 7th place with a time of 18:18.
“My time was a little bit slower today than the last time I ran at this course because it was a hotter day and I usually do better in the cold,” said Arnold. “There’s also a couple hard hills, but it wasn’t too bad. I still did good.”
“This course is a little harder for everyone, so my time today wasn’t the best,” Hicks added. “I’m still very happy overall with my season. Back-to-back state qualifying with last year and this year and I ran my best time ever this year.”
Coach Cooper noted this was the first time in many years two individual runners qualified for the state meet from Wayne. The Wayne girl’s team finished in 4th place overall out of 15 teams while the boys finished in 6th out of 17 schools.
The Cross Country State Meet will be held in Fort Dodge at the Lakeside Municipal Golf Course at Kennedy Park on October 31 where Arnold and Hicks will both compete. Arnold will run at 3:30 p.m. with the Class 1A girls while Hicks race will follow at 4:00 p.m. for the Class 1A boys.
Both athletes will be representing Wayne as they finish their 2020 season at the state meet.