It has been a long wait for Stillwater’s Abby Lange, but she is looking forward to her chance to compete at the girls’ Class AA state cross country meet on Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Lange narrowly missed advancing to state a year ago — and would have if using the qualifying formula that was implemented this season — but the sophomore is not looking back.
The 4,000-meter girls’ race is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
Lange placed sixth at the Section 4AA Meet to qualify easily (13th place grabbed the last available state bid).
“I feel like I’ve worked hard and my training should pay off,” Lange said. “At the beginning of the season, I set some goals and I would have liked to have placed in the top 30, but as the season went along I did better than I thought so I would like to shoot for top 20.”
Lange has finished sixth or better in six of nine races this fall, with her lone victory coming at the four-team Prior Lake Invitational on Sept. 27. She finished in the top five in five straight races from Sept. 7 to Oct. 2, including a third-place finish at the Milaca Mega Meet.
Competing in her first state meet will be a challenge, especially while running without her teammates, Lange suggested.
“It’s going to be strange going into a race without my team there to support me, but they’ll be there to cheer me on so it should be good,” Lange said.
Lange did compete on Stillwater’s 4×800 relay team that competed at state in the spring and Ponies coach Dawn Podolske is pleased to see her earn another opportunity in cross country as an individual.
“(The team has) really supported each other and we’ll continue to support Abby (at state),” Podolske said. “She’s got nothing to lose down there and the pressure should be off her at this point and she can just go run a great race.”