Kennedy girls’ Cross Country season has come to an end as three runners qualified and ran at State on Oct. 29 in Fort Dodge.
Ella Popenhagen, fr., placed 6th, Hannah Fusselman, jr., placed 34th and Brooklyn Button jr., placed 50th out of 124 runners.
To qualify for the state meet runners have to place in the top 15 at the Qualifying Meet. There are different qualifying meets for every region of Iowa, and the top 15 from each meet qualify for state.
For the team to qualify for State, runners have to place in the Top 3 at the Qualifying Meet. The different regions of Iowa all have three teams that are invited in. Kennedy tied for 3rd but didn’t end up getting to go.
Popenhagen didn’t enjoy the State course very much. “It was pretty much just rolling hills and there were so many people that you could never see where you were,” Popenhagen said
Mark Jensen started coaching the team in 2004. In the summer, he has the freshman run 30 miles a week, the sophomores run 40 miles, the juniors run 50 miles, and has the seniors run 60 miles. He has the girls “just run” instead of having them do other workouts to work other part of their bodies.
The average cross-country runner runs two hours every day during the school year and most varsity runners do not run on their own outside of team practice, but do run on weekends.
Popenhagen didn’t start out as the fastest runner. “I didn’t really know I was good at running til’ this year, I’ve always enjoyed running, but I wasn’t really good at it when I was little. I was really bad.”
She plans on running track this fall. She hopes to run the 4 x 800 relay and the 1500.
“It gives me a sense of freedom, and I don’t think about whatever is going on in my life,” Popehagen said. “I like running just because I can.”