Manual’s girls’ cross country team placed first and the boys’ team finished fourth overall in the KHSAA state championship on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Alena Sapienza-Wright (11, YPAS) of the girls’ team is a now two-time 3A individual state champion, while Yared Nuguse (12, MST) achieved his first 3A individual state champion title at this competition.
To celebrate the team’s achievements, Manual will hold a pep rally at 1:40 p.m. on Wednesday Nov. 8.
“I am so proud and surprised! It’s even more special because Yared and the boys’ team won as well. It is amazing to have the teams’ and my hard work rewarded in this way after months of training,” said Sapienza-Wright, “I think everyone on the team is sharing the same feeling of elation and satisfaction. We might have not all ‘won,’ but we all pushed each other every day in practice so we could be at our best at state.”
“I am so happy for the girls team because of all the work they put in and the adversity they’ve had to overcome this season,” said cross country coach Tim Holman (Social Studies). “I will never forget the looks on their faces when we found out that we’d won. I am also so proud of both Alena and Yared for their individual accomplishments. Both of them executed their race plans perfectly and dug deep at the end to pull off their victories.”
According to Holman, the runners have been preparing since early June. Preparation included hill runs, high intensity runs and core training.
“This is the hardest-working group I’ve ever encountered and they were committed early on to their goals,” said Holman.
Some of the runners will be preparing for the Footlocker regional meet and are aiming to compete at the national level. Some of the team also plans to return for the track and field season in the spring.