Merrill’s Harris solid in state reprise
Merrill’s Sydney Harris took her final shot at the state cross country meet on Saturday, after placing fifth overall in the previous Saturday’s sectional race.
But Sydney’s second straight state appearance ended up with a 94th-place finish. The race celebrated its 100th anniversary, and has been held for the past 25 years at The Ridges Golf Course in Wis. Rapids.
“Sydney ran her final race of her career in a nice way,” Merrill coach Craig Hoffman said. “She ran a crisp, clean and fast race right in the middle of the pack. That’s been her style during her racing career. She never was a jackrabbit out in front, she always stayed in a pack, preferring to race her best surrounded by others.
“We are very proud of Sydney. She twice competed at the state level showcasing Merrill High School’s program and we can’t thank her enough for that.
“Could she have run faster and placed higher on Saturday? As a coach, we always want better for our athletes, but Sydney showed us that she performed as a winner without winning the title. We are ever so proud of her work ethic, her team leadership and her will to compete.”
Harris ranked 70th after a 6:06 opening mile, then fell to 98th after a second mile of 6:38. She closed strong to finish in 15:53.67. The pack is so tightly packed at this point that had Harris cut 20 seconds off her time, she would have finished in 50th place.
Harris closed out her high school career at the race, and Hoffman noted the impact she had on the team the past four years.
“We can’t replace a ‘Sidney,’ but we can sure learn from her,” he said. “Sidney has helped build this running program and her running efforts at state these past two years have boosted our aim to get more runners and teams to state. Now, we have to focus on our off-season running to prepare for next year!”
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