ONA— Grafton High School (GHS) Sophomore Emily Viani produced an impressive year as a Lady Bearcat Cross Country runner this season, running her way into the State Championship meet.
The State Meet was held on Saturday at Cabell Midland High School in Ona West Virginia, and boasted a challenging course, as well as some of the fiercest opponents from across the state.
Viani entered the race ranked 16th in the state in the class AA girl’s division and was pinned up against 79 of the best runners in the state for the meet.
According to Head Coach PD Louzy, a top ten finish at the meet would have earned Viani First Team All-State Honors.
“I told Emily, she could run her normal race and finish 15th or 16th, or we could swing for the fence and go for a top ten finish,” he noted.
Pushing herself beyond her limits, Viana hit the first mile marker with a group that was in seventh to 14th place, putting her right where she needed to be and marking her time a good bit faster than usual for a mile.
“She hung on until about the midway point of the race, but then kind of hit the wall,” Louzy shared.
Although Viani fell just a bit short of her goal, she still ran a good race and placed within the top 25.
With a finishing time of 22:12, Viani beat out 56 other competitors to land in 23rd place overall, out of the nearly 80 runners.
“After the race, I told her I was so proud of the effort she gave,” expressed Louzy. “You’ll never know where that wall is until you push hard enough to hit it.”
Throughout the regular season, Viani had a great run.
She brought home countless top finishes, including a top ten finish at the Big 10 XC Championship that earned her First Team All-Conference Honors.
During the Regional Meet on their home course, she finished within the top five, placing fourth on a performance that earned her the opportunity to compete at the state level.
“She had a great season. Maybe not the finish she was looking for, but she left it all on the course. That’s all I can ever ask of an athlete,” Louzy stated.